Handi*Vangelism Ministries International, H*VMI
A Ministry of Compassion   

BASIS Comfort

Some suggestions of things not to say to a grieving child or teen…

“You’re the man of the house now. Be strong for your Mom and sister.” Often times we add extra pressure to kids and teens without even realizing it. We need to remember that boys are NOT adults and that they need to grieve in their own way without the pressure of trying to stay strong and take care of their family.

“I know how you feel.” Even if you have had a loved one die, everyone grieves uniquely and no two people have the exact same feelings.

“Don’t cry, you shouldn’t be angry.” Children and teens need to know that both emotions are okay. We need to validate their feelings as well as offer healthy and appropriate ways to express those feelings.

“Your grief will pass.” Although, grief can get better in time, often times grief never fully goes away.

“Talking about your loved one upsets others.” This may or may not be true for some people but it is important for children and teens to know that it is okay to talk about their loved one and to share memories.

Grief is hard. We don’t always know what to say, but don’t underestimate your presence in a grieving child’s life. God is using you to be there, to listen and to comfort.



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Author: Michelle Noble (22 Articles)
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Michelle Noble  Michelle serves with BASIS, specifically with grieving children through the ministry of C2H2 (Compassion, Comfort, Healing and Hope).

One Response to “Some suggestions of things not to say to a grieving child or teen…”

  1. Ron says:

    I don’t know that anyone ever specifically said those things to me when my brother died, but I sensed some of those were the way I was supposed to think about the death of my brother. Mostly, it seemed that people thought I was okay and didn’t really talk about it with me or ask. I guessed I wasn’t supposed to grieve all that much – not as much as my parents. And because it was so hard for them, at times I felt I needed to stay strong because I was afraid of what would happen to them (and our family) if they fell apart. Nor did I get the message from others that my parents’ grief was okay. Perhaps it took me longer in life to learn how to process loss because at the point I most needed to know how, no one helped me with that. Grief is a big load on a kid. And the kind of attitudes you describe only make the load that much heavier. Thanks for bringing these things into the light.

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