Supporting your family though loss and grief

Grief is a natural, emotional response to loss and unfortunately, an unavoidable part of family life. Often, we aren’t prepared for difficult situations and as a parent, you might be navigating your own grief as well. Our Specialist Family and Relationship Care practitioners offer information and strategies to help support you and your family during challenging times. 

Children can be deeply affected by change 

Children can experience feelings of grief as a result of many different life events. These include the death of a family member, friend or pet, as well as big changes and transitions that can produce a sense of loss. Furthermore, they can entail changes resulting from separation and divorce, breakups in friendships, moving to a new home or school, loss of a favourite toy, changing teachers or classes, or an illness or injury. 

We all grieve differently  

There is no right or wrong way to grieve and it’s important to understand all the different ways that people can respond to grief. Both adults and children are likely to experience a range of feelings including shock, sadness, disbelief, anger, panic, frustration, confusion, anxiety, longing, resentment, guilt, numbness.  

Grief can affect children in different ways: 

  • Cognitively – They may find it tricky to concentrate, make decisions, find motivation or perform at school. 
  • Emotionally – Children may experience intense and rapidly changing emotions. 
  • Physically – Feeling physically unwell, a lack of energy or changes in their usual eating and sleeping patterns.  
  • Spiritually – They may have lots of questions and curiosity around death and dying. 
  • Socially – Children may withdraw from family and friends or become more dependent or clingy. 
  • Behaviourally – They may exhibit challenging or demanding behaviours that are out of character for them. 

It’s OK to ask for help  


If you and your family are going through a tough time, our specialist practitioners offer free or low cost, solution-focused counselling and support in a safe and caring space.

We work with couples, parents, children, young people and families and can help you manage challenges, and changes and process feelings of loss and grief.

Our services are available over the phone and in a range of locations throughout Southeast Queensland. 

Tips for supporting a child who is experiencing loss and grief 

  • Grief doesn’t follow a standard timeline and children may feel it intermittently or for an extended period.  Offer reassurance and comfort, love and care, for as long as is needed. 
  • Include children in any age-appropriate decision making where it directly impacts them. 
  • Strong feelings can feel overwhelming for children. Acknowledge and help them name the emotions they are feeling. 
  • Maintaining normal routines wherever possible will help promote feelings of safety and stability. 
  • Allow children to ask questions and talk about their loss as much as they want to. Provide clear and age-appropriate answers to questions where you can.  
  • Where appropriate, share your own feelings and how you’ve been coping with them. 
  • Identify a range of people you trust for support – it might be easier to talk to different people about different things. 
  • Find time to do enjoyable things together – reassure them that it’s okay to play, be happy and have fun. 
  • Create a memory box to maintain a positive connection to the person or experience which has been lost. 

Other services that provide support to families navigating loss and grief: 

Lifeline                         13 11 14 

Kids Helpline              1800 55 1800 

Griefline                      1300 845 745