Bigfork School District 38

Student Assistance Program -- Grief Resources for Families

Parents refer and encourage their child(ren) to participate in the Student Assistance Program, but often would like to know how to help them from home – especially after the loss of a loved one. Following are some common reactions to grief and some suggestions from the Student Assistance Program Institute on how you can help your child through these tough times.


Common Grief Reactions
Lack of feelings
Rebellion at home/school
Sleep/appetite disturbances
School problems, fighting, withdrawal, attention seeking, poor concentration
Physical problems, headaches, stomachaches
Over involvement with peers or loss of interest in peer and social activities (extremes)
Idealization of the deceased
Preoccupation with the situation

How Parents Can Help
Be involved with your child.
Observe his/her behavior.
Listen to your child.
Help your child to explore his/her feelings.
Reassure your child that his/her feelings are normal.
Give assurances of love, support and safety.
Do not judge feelings.
Do not minimize the loss or attempt to take the pain away.
Use clear language; died, death, dead. Discuss with your child his/her feelings about attending the funderal if your child attends.
Routine and consistency are important.
Be sensitive to the need for peer group support.
Set reasonable limits and provide structue to provide feelings of security.
Permit or encourage your child to talk about the person who died.
Get extra help if you need it.