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19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

Grief & Loss

What can cause a feeling of grief or loss?


  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Loss of a pet
  • Moving/New School
  • Losing a friend
  • Sibling goes off to school or moves out of the house
  • Mental health diagnosis, or chronic health conditions


It is important that you speak to your child about what happened or what is happening on their level. Listen first, ask your child what do they know about what is going on, they don’t have our same experiences, so find out what they know and what they understand before you go into a lengthy in-depth discussion that you don’t need to. For example, if a grandparent or pet dies, it is appropriate and important to use the words "died" "death" or "killed", no matter what age the child is. Tell your children/teens the truth, be simple and direct with them. Be prepared for questions, children/teens are naturally curious so they may ask many questions and ask the same question repeatedly. Don’t pretend that you are not sad about the situation, it is ok to express your feelings to your child. This helps your child/teen know it is ok to express their feelings.


Your child/teen will not necessarily grieve at the same speed that you do, you have to allow them to process grief at their own pace. Something else to keep in mind is that everyone processes loss and grief in their own way. Not everyone is emotional, and if your child doesn’t break down or cry or talk about it doesn’t mean they are holding things in. It is a very tricky situation, and this is where we at CPC can help to ensure that your child is processing their grief.


Everyone has a different way to express their grief, there are some common symptoms that your child/teen may show:


  • grieving in doses, you may see them crying on minute, then playing the next
  • wanting to sleep in bed with an adult
  • acting out their feelings rather than talking
  • you  may see changes in eating, sleeping, and overall behavior
  • displaying younger behaviors that they have outgrown, such as wetting the bed or sucking their thumb
  • suddenly becoming angry, frustrated, and restless (drastic mood swings)
  • lack of concentration or energy
  • excessive talk about death
  • talk about self-harm
  • isolation


It is important to remain open and willing to talk about the various experiences of loss and grief. As our children grow and develop, they will have different reactions to grief. A child who doesn’t react to, or talk about, a death or significant loss in the early stages may want to talk about it later. They may show their interest and feelings in play rather than discussion. At Cameron Pediatric Counseling, Inc. we specialize in working with children, we know how to help your child/teen through a loss of any kind. Call us today to schedule an appointment and we will help you and your child work through their feelings of loss and deal with their grief.

Cameron Pediatric Counseling, Inc.


19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

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