The term ‘bereavement’ refers to the whole process of grief and mourning and is associated with a deep sense of loss and sadness. All children will grieve when a person they love dies, although they vary tremendously in how they react. They are more resilient than adults in the face of bereavement, and in general they seem to be less affected in the long term by death than by parental separation.
A child’s level of resilience depends on a number of factors; including temperament, self-esteem, ability to form new relationships, and having a confiding relationship with a surviving adult. Parent’s reactions to loss will have a major impact on how children cope, and other family members may need reassurance that apparent indifference often occurs, and that grief may resolve more quickly in children than in adults.