How do Children Cope with the Loss of Siblings

Posted by Ava Hill on April 11th, 2019

How do Children Cope with the Loss of Siblings


Relationships play a very important role in our life. The way we treat each other, communicate and behave depends on mutual understanding between people. Positive features of character such as respect and politeness identify a personality. The person who possesses these qualities is a valuable interlocutor. The loss of such a good person causes harm to the closest people. People who suffer most of all because of the loss of the closest relatives are children. The current paper examines the way little children cope with the loss of their siblings.

According to the researches, there are various ways of how children can effectively cope with the loss of siblings. Spending most of their free time together, children get used to their brother’s and sister’s behavior, treatment, and relations with each other. Sharing the toys and emotions helps raise them in the environment where they acquire proper behavior patterns respecting and being polite to each other. As a rule, siblings choose to take the parents’ position. In this case, the relations between children and their siblings can be different from those of brothers or sisters. Children do not want someone to teach them how to behave and treat the others, except parents. Siblings perceive children as friends, who can provide them with support and good advice, and spend free time with pleasure. Regardless of the way of how siblings behave while interacting with other children, the loss of them causes harm to children’s health. Such loss has a negative impact on the attitude to others, behavior and relations with the closest people. Negative influence slightly affects the children’s psyche so that they can become unfriendly. Such improper treatment of others is adopted starting from the school age and lasting until the end of life. There are various ways of how children can cope with the loss of siblings. Following simple advice can lead to avoiding the problem and finding a solution in terms of proper behavior with friends and relatives. The ways we treat others influence our behavior and on their treatment of us.


The problem statement concerns unpleasant feelings that children have after the loss of the siblings. The feelings of grief, anxiety and sadness after the loss of the closest people have a negative impact on children’s health, which can lead to mental disorders and various illnesses.

Proper identification of the initial stage of anxiety helps immediately avoid undesirable consequences. The main attention should be paid to the main rules that help cope with the grief caused by the loss of siblings. Firstly, there should be defined the closeness in the relationship between siblings. The closer the relations are between them, the more efforts should be applied to overcome unpleasant feelings experienced by children. If the relations are not close, anxiety, grief and sadness are easy to cope with. Secondly, the main attention should be paid to parents’ telling truth to their children about the loss of siblings. Proper words to explain the grief will help cope with a feeling of sadness. The way of how parents communicate with their children will influence the level of trust the children have towards their parents.

The parents are the first to find different ways of helping their children cope with such feelings as irritability, dissatisfaction and improper behavior towards others after losing siblings. Parents are the ones whom they can rely on and feel support and encouragement. The relatives being the closest people for children play a very important role in the process of education, explaining proper behavior and treatment of others. Receiving good advice and encouragement from the parents will help children cope with difficulties and prevent a negative impact on children’s health. Properly expressed feelings will help children mitigate a negative reaction to grief.


It was found that the loss of siblings negatively affects children’s behavior. The reason for this negative impact is identified in close and intimate relationship between children and siblings. Their improper treatment of others depends on the closeness of the siblings’ relations, the circumstances of the death (sudden or expected) and the consequences of it. According to various factors, there are various ways of how children can cope with the loss of siblings.

According to Mental Health and Growing up Spreadsheets, various charity organizations help to understand the children’s grief and anxiety, promoting well-being and helping cope with the loss. Displaying improper emotions can occur unexpectedly and in an indefinite moment. The main attention is to be paid to a proper treatment of children on behalf of parents. Being the closest people to them, the parents are the first to help children overcome their inner feelings and cope with anxiety faster. Researchers have found out that the utmost harm is caused to children at the age from six to nine years old. Being familiar with the loss of the closest people, children suffer from emotional distress. Due to the time spent by children and siblings together, sharing their emotions and feelings, coping with bereavement process will take much effort.

Attention should be paid to positive impact of parents, safe environment, formation of the children’s behavior, family’s interaction, parent-child communication, effective discipline, and children’s self-esteem improvement. Adherence to the basic rules will help cope with the difficulties and reduce adverse effects on children’s health.

Gunter, who applied various additional ways of coping with the loss of siblings, maintains the same main principles as Sandler to understand better the children’s sensitive feelings. He focuses on the expression of strong emotions and their influence on children’s psyche. According to his study, art activities, sport groups and counseling are the best ways that help children to reveal their inner feeling of sadness.

Loss of close people is the most traumatic event for the whole family, especially for little children. They are the first, who easily get used to friendship and the ones who suffer most of all from the bereavement. The main attention should be paid to their behavior. Care, support, love and good treatment are the main factors that are the most essential for children to help them cope with anxiety. Proper adherence of simple rules will help to prevent the problems with the children’s health, negative feelings and emotions.


With the help of different methods, it is easy to understand children’s feelings caused by the loss of the siblings and the negative impact on their health to find proper ways of treating grief. The given methods help provide a deeper analysis of coping with the bereavement among children.

One of the methods is the research method that is concentrated on the needs of children. Meeting all the children’s needs and requests will help them cope with anxiety, sadness and grief faster. Their needs are the basic cause of emotional, adjustment, behavioral and social development. Coping with these emotions will help the family members to become closer to their children. Children feeling love and support will easily overcome the bereavement. Properly defined family history and relations will help find appropriate treatment for children, being acknowledgeable with their likes and dislikes. It is important to consider hobbies of children that they have adopted from their mothers. With the help of research method, it will be easier to determine the level of the family’s conflicts and psychological influences on children’s physical development. Properly defined quality of family relationships will help children cope with the difficulties caused by the loss of siblings.

According to the phenomenological method, it is easy to understand various experiences of the children. The main attention is to be paid to the relations between family members and the way these relations influence the relations with siblings. The main attention is paid to the conflicts between the parents, individual characteristics and their influence on children’s well-being. If the child is raised in the environment filled with conflicts between the parents, he/she will not be able to form good relations with friends. She/he will not get used to the friendship, and such feelings as grief and sadness will be typical for their behavior. The relations in the family have the largest impact on children’s psychological well-being. If a child is raised with love, getting used to the loss of siblings will demand much effort.

A direct way of identifying the history of children’s life is identified with the help of photo-elicitation method. Different pictures of the past help determine various feelings that are experienced by children. The photos are the source of information about the children. They contain different memories that clearly describe their past life. Discussing positive feelings and experienced emotions will help overcome grief, anxiety and pain. Talking with pleasure about the events of the past will help restore positive thinking.  This method evokes trust between the children. With the help of the forum, they start sharing their emotions with each other. This method has a positive influence on children’s relation and behavior. Pictures attract the attention of the viewers and support the communication process that encourages the users to make new friendships.


Data analysis identifies a detailed description of all the methods provided for children to help them easily cope with the loss of siblings taking into consideration more detailed information about the children’s everyday life, including their engagement in some activities, hobbies and the process of communication with others.

According to phenomenological analysis, the description of children’s experience in life, his/her likes and dislikes, way of life and habits should be properly defined. Everything that is associated with the lack of information should be given less attention. The main information should be concentrated on main qualities of the children’s character that will help better understand the problem and cope with a feeling of anxiety. Being familiar with individual characteristics will help find proper treatment for children. Friendly environment provided to children will help cope with negative thoughts and distract children from grief for a while. Developing various creative ideas and rituals will help to find comfort and get rid of anxiety. Continuing pain and fear will be reduced with the replacing pictures and photos from the past that will help children recollect pleasant memories. Closest people regardless of the bereavement will be in the children’s heart forever.

Taking into consideration the uniqueness of every child, the environment where he/she lives, relations with parents and family history play a very important role in educational process starting from the early childhood. Proper ways of solving the problems and overcoming such negative feelings as irritation, sadness, pain, and anxiety can be easily found. Personal habits also influence the children’s behavior. Identification of the hobbies of the child can help easily engage him/ her in some activities. It will take his/her free time and will be a good opportunity for them to forget for a while about their grief.

The meaning of the children’s speech defines their reactions to the feeling of grief. Appropriate ways of coping with the problem can be easily found with the help of phenomenological reduction. Children can talk about their anxiety for a long time. The main attention should be paid to the problem statement and children’s feelings regarding the bereavement. Properly defined solutions will help recognize children’s behavior and highlight the main features of their character. A rigorous process of analysis will help concentrate the attention on important information. With the help of this stage, it is easier to define important information with the help of certain phrases and sentences. Extrapolating data in the process of analysis helps children to answer the research questions. The more accurate their answers about their lives are, the easier the process of coping with the loss of siblings will be. The next process of phenomenological analysis requires reducing the general meaning of everything that has been observed. The main attention should be paid only to important factors.

Summarizing the entire interview, the data analysis contains the most essential information regarding the children’s life. Identifying unique themes helps learn important features of character peculiar to children and the ways they spend their free time. Contextualization of themes helps define all the information regarding the life of the children, their likes and dislikes. Data analysis contains all the information regarding the children’s growth. With the help of the analysis, all the important information is properly clarified. A summary of all the information will define the overall situation regarding the past life of children and help find ways of coping with grief.


Communication is the most efficient process in which the children will feel support and care. With the help of communication, children express their feelings. Proper communication ensures trust to the interlocutor.

Children should feel care from the closest people. Despite talking with parents, children should be involved in various activities. All of these activities should be related to their hobbies. In support groups of peers, they easily express their grief. New friends and unknown environment help them to deal with sadness faster. Following basic stages of eliminating anxiety, children recover from the loss of the siblings quicker. The more good feelings they receive from the close people, the better it is for their well-being. The length of the period of grief is different for every child. Every child is unique. Parents should make more efforts to discuss the traumatic death of the closest people to help children cope with anxiety, grief, and sadness.

The gathered information regarding the children’s childhood helps define their character. Defining the family structure and treatment between family members will help influence the children’s well-being in a positive way. According to researchers, the highest levels of psychological well-being are present in the first-married families. Coping with the grief does not require much effort from them. However, children have lower levels of psychological well being in the divorced families.


Summing up, the loss of the siblings negatively affects the children’s well-being. Children feel anxiety, pain, and sadness after the bereavement of the closest people. The properly conducted analysis of the causes of grief helps define the problem statement that provides various solutions for children to overcome improper feelings. Family relations and closeness influence children’s behavior. According to the studies, children of the first married couples cope with the loss of the siblings easier, than children of divorced couples. Educational process of the childhood, teaching proper behavior and treatment of others affect children’s character. With the help of different methods and various ways of coping with the loss of the siblings, the well-being of the children can be significantly improved. Research method helps understand the anxiety of the children taking into consideration their experience in the past. With the help of the phenomenological method, it is easier to define the relations between the family members and their influence on children’s behavior. Photo-elicitation method identifies the pleasant memories of the past. Properly collected information for the data analysis helps define the impact of siblings’ loss on the children. The understanding of children’s feelings, likes and dislikes will make it easier to help them cope with grief, sadness and anxiety.

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Ava Hill

About the Author

Ava Hill
Joined: April 11th, 2019
Articles Posted: 3

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