Children’s Grief Questions

Children have limited cognitive and verbal abilities and grief can be an overwhelming experience. They may or may not be able to directly communicate the above listed fears and questions. However, sensitive ears and eyes will be able to pick up on these themes in whatever forms they may appear. Even if there is no noticeable communication of these fears, chances are that some are there.

One might even say to a bereaved child, “When my grandmother died, I began to worry that other people I loved might die, too. I’m wondering if you have ever worried about that.” Statements such as these do not put fears into children that do not exist. They will either tell you no, or, more likely, will grab the opportunity to hear an adult acknowledge and address this fear.

Acknowledging children’s fears normalizes their experience and allows them to explore their fears and receive support. Remember, children have fantastic imaginations and will create their own answers when they can’t find them elsewhere.

Here are some common questions or fears children may have during their grief stages.

• What happened?
• Was it my fault?
• Did I do something bad?
• Am I going to die?
• Are you going to die?
• Will others I love die?
• How old are you?
• Who will take care of me?
• What does dead mean?
• Why do people die?
• Where do people go when they die?
• Where is heaven?
• How can someone be underground and in
heaven at the same time?
• Can I go too?
• Don’t people get cold, hungry, or scared
• Why would God take him/her away?
• When is (deceased’s name) coming back?