Chapter 4: Supporting the student over the long term

Considerations over the long term

What the grief expert says
Andrea Warnick, registered psychotherapist, talks about helping students respond to difficult questions.(3:22)
Andrea Warnick, registered psychotherapist, talks about acknowledging a death that happened prior to the school year.(3:22)
Andrea Warnick, registered psychotherapist, talks about how the needs of grieving student's may change over time.(3:22)

“I was five when my mom died. Throughout my entire schooling I was anxious about making new friends. It wasn’t because I was worried that they would ask me about my mom and would have to say, “She died.” I was actually comfortable with that part. But I didn’t know how my mom died – my dad was so upset at the time I never asked him how she died. I was really worried that if I made a new friend, they might ask how my mom died and I was really embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know”.  - Former student

Below are some things to keep in mind. 

Roll your mouse over each box.



A student who didn’t initially want the death acknowledged by their educators…



may change their mind about this as time passes and their grief isn’t as close to the surface.












It’s common for students’ grief to resurface when they transition to a new school…



A student may have to explain the death of a family member for the first time as they start to make new friends at middle or high school. Your grieving student may not have anticipated this, since previous schoolmates may have been aware of the death without the student having had to talk about it.












Even years after a death, dates, such as birthdays and the anniversary of the death, may be particularly difficult….



Mother’s Day and Father’s Day also tend to be especially difficult for children who have experienced the death of a parent, regardless of how many years have passed since the death.  












Consider that certain assignments may also trigger a grief response in your student…



(e.g., projects about families, certain illnesses, grief, death, and loss).  












For a period of time…



children may still talk about the person who died in the present tense.