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Missing someone

Coping with loss

Loss of a loved one can be through their death, moving away, divorce or separation, or a parent in prison.

Death of a loved one causes a range of feelings as they try to cope with what has happened. They may feel anger at the person who died, at you, at others or themselves. They may feel guilty, possibly blaming themselves in some way. Talk about what has happened as much as they want to.

Separation and divorce is hard. The more your child knows what is going on, the easier they will find it to cope. Children can think that their parents breaking up is somehow their fault and they have done something wrong. Let them know that what has happened is not their fault. Tell them you are both there for them. Tell your child’s school what is happening so they can give extra support if needed.

Whoever your child misses is important to your child. Support them and let them know you are there.


  1. Has a significant person left your child’s life through separation, death or moving away?
  2. Have you thought about how this will affect your child?
  3. Talk to them, let them know you are there for them. Tell the school and get extra support.

Separation and divorce

There is a lot to think about when a relationship ends, especially if you have children. You may be worried about money, where you will live and what the future holds.

There can be difficult issues to address with your ex-partner, such as working out when they can see the children. As well as sorting out the practicalities, it is important to remember the emotional needs of your children and to get support if you need it.

What to do straight away:

The following should be dealt with urgently:

  1. Protect yourself and your children
  2. Check your immigration status
  3. Know your housing rights
  4. Claim benefits and tax credits
  5. Contact your bank
  6. Protect joint assets

Depending on your situation, you may also need to get urgent legal advice.

Source: NHS Choices, gingerbread.org.uk

Parents in prison

Encourage your child to keep in touch, perhaps by writing letters or drawing pictures.

Let them know that their parent in prison still loves them and talk to them about a possible prison visit. Talk about what you will tell others and how your child feels about that. They may not wish friends at school to know. You may wish to tell your child’s school in confidence so they can offer them support.

Useful links

Child Bereavement UK: free App for bereaved young people
The App, 'Grief: Support for Young People', has been developed for 11-25 year olds who have been bereaved of someone important to them. It can also be used by friends, teachers, parents and professionals who would like to know how to support bereaved young people. Available on the App Store.

MindEd for Families offers advice to parents whose children experience bereavement, grief and loss (including pets)
MindEd for Families was built by parents and the MindEd Consortium of professionals, funded by the Department of Education, in partnership with Health Education England. It is accredited by the NHS Information Standard. 


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