Children’s Grief Awareness Week – Facing The Inevitable

Children’s Grief Awareness Week                       –                 Facing The Inevitable

Children’s Grief Awareness Week – Facing The Inevitable

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes” is probably one of the most famous quotes in the world. Written by Benjamin Franklin in a letter back in 1789, it still rings true over 200 hundred years later. However, despite the fact we all know we are mortal, in many ways as a society we are becoming less able to talk about the prospect.

Advances in medical science, awareness of the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise, plus greater prosperity has led to an increased life expectancy. In the UK today, there are more than 14,500 people who are aged a hundred or more, breaking all previous records. It is easy to think death is a long way off, a subject to be avoided, not a topic to be discussed, especially with children.

Looking at the latest figures from the Childhood Bereavement Network the reality is very different. By age 16, around 1 in 20 young people will have experienced the death of one or both of their parents. Every day 112 children have a parent die. Over the course of a year that means 41,000 children will have lost one or both of their parents.

These are startling figures and are probably far higher than most people would estimate them to be. When you consider children are likely to also experience the death of a close relative, family friend or even a pet while growing up it’s easy to see why Child Bereavement UK state that up to 70% of schools have a bereaved child on their roll at any one time. It makes sense for schools to think about a framework for how to help any children going through a bereavement and consider how to broach the subject with pupils in an appropriate way.

With Children’s Grief Awareness Week coming up between 16th and 22nd November, now is a pertinent time for schools and parents to think about how to talk about the subject with their children. There are a number of resources available through charities and support groups to help tackle this difficult, but important subject. For example, the Elephant Tea Party organised by Child Bereavement UK, is designed to give children the emotional capacity and life skills needed to help them cope with death now or in the future through a mixture of fun activities and creative exercises. By discussing the topic openly, it allows children to ask questions, address their emotions and realise it is a natural part of life.

For parents, one of the most important things to put in place are plans to deal with their own death. It will save a lot of unnecessary worry, stress and upheaval, if the worst should happen. Drawing up a will and making sure you have the right insurances in place, for example insuring your school fees will mean that your finances are taken care of, so that those left behind can concentrate on taking care of what matters most.
Of course, no one likes to think about death, but putting in the time to discuss it with your children, will help them both understand it and process it in their own way. By being open about the subject, they will feel confident to ask questions and come to you with any concerns.

Clare Cave
Head of Personal Lines, SFS Group

01306 746300

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