Like adults, children react to the news of the death of a loved one individually, and sometimes with unexpected responses. Anger, wanting to be left alone or being curious and full of questions may be more common for some children than sadness.
The child may feel or express fears about who is going to care for them, where they will live, is it safe to go to sleep, where has the loved one gone and why, who's fault is it?
Children are best helped by giving them a clear and honest explanation about death. They need reassurance and security, cuddles and quiet times together so that they do not feel exposed or deserted.
Teenagers are often very vulnerable when a school friend or family member dies. Attempts to appear 'grown up' in front of their peers, or their family, could leave them feeling isolated and without anyone to turn to.
Adults should not hide their own tears from children of any age - your grief will show them that they should never feel ashamed to openly express their grief. By learning that grief is natural and acceptable, children will not carry unresolved emotional issues into their adult lives.
They will not acquire unhelpful and unhealthy ways of coping with grief such as masking their true feelings - trying to bear their hurt, confusion, questions, anger or fear in silence and without support.