Importance of honest conversations
"It's important to prepare young people for a bereavement… many teachers do not have the confidence to talk about bereavement with their pupils but they have all the skills to do so"
We prepare young people for many situations in their lives but death is a topic which is often referred to as ‘taboo’ or the ‘elephant in the room’. The use of euphemisms which are used in place of the words ‘dead’ and ‘died’, alongside a feeling that children and young people should be protected, often leads to confusion and anxiety about death.
Children and young people need the opportunity to learn about death and grief from trusted adults using age-appropriate, honest language.
People experience bereavement in different contexts and it is important to avoid any ‘hierarchy’ of grief. For some pupils, their experience may be the death of a pet which can cause great upset.
Children’s understanding of what death means varies with their stage of development and it can help to understand these differences when supporting a bereaved child.