1. Be available when they need you

It might not be the most convenient time of day but if a young person wants to talk ensure that you are free to do so or tell them when you will be free and stick to it.  You might get the “well I need to talk now” response but they will be okay.

2. Don’t assume that there is anything ‘wrong’ just because they don’t want to talk

Everyone deals with loss in different ways.  Keep an eye out but don’t push them to talk.  Gently point them towards good resources like our Tough Stuff journal and you may be pleasantly surprised by leaving it lying around for them to pick up!

3. Talk about the person who died often

Elephants in the room are hard to get around and everyone knows they are there.  So be the one to address it.  Get some Lego - make an elephant and make a room!

4. Use the correct words

Grandpa didn’t fall asleep or pass - grandpa died.  This is particularly important when you are talking to small children but equally important when communicating with teens because it makes it real however hard that is.

5. Be honest with them but not too honest

That doesn’t make much sense does it?  Tell them you are struggling too but don’t use a son or daughter as your emotional support.  Find a group or a trusted friend or access a discussion group. For example The Bereavement Journey. - see www.thebereavementjourney.org