How do I go about helping my 12 year old deal with a death in the family?

I was informed yesterday that my 12-year-old son’s aunt on his dad’s side had passed away. She was only 30 and had several blood clots that had traveled to her brain, resulting in several strokes and passed away yesterday afternoon. My husband (his stepfather) and I sat him down and explained to him what happened. He hasn’t seen her in a while but was very close to her. When we first told him, he was upset and broke down, but naturally today, he is having a hard time. I’ve been letting him know that, however, he needs to process this is ok and that not everyone handles death the same, and that is ok too. I’ve also let him know I’m here for him and will answer any questions he might have about what happened. I guess my question is, how can I help him? My heart is breaking, seeing my child so sad. I just wish I could take his hurt away, and I’m feeling so helpless. I’m trying to give him his space as well. And with this whole virus thing going on and knowing we are stuck at home, for the time being, isn’t helping matters. We also explained that when he finds himself missing her or feels sad to remember all of the good memories of her and know that she is in a better place and not hurting anymore. I feel like a lost momma right now.


This is such a hard thing to deal with as adult, let alone a child. I’m so sorry. I have no advice for you. I think you’re on the right path with having the lines of communication open for your son and telling him the circumstances surrounding her death. Answering his questions as he has them will help him process this. It will take time. You’re doing a good job. I’m sorry for your loss.

Honesty is the best policy. Explain the grieving process is to him. That will help you all.

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It sounds like you’re doing everything right.
Unfortunately this isn’t something you can fix with a bandaid or a hug.
I know as a mother it hurts so much when we can’t fix something. Maybe since he is 12 ask him if there is anything that you all as a family can do and just keep reminding him that whether he needs a hug, a distraction (maybe the family could learn a new card game together/watch a funny movie/ AFV on YouTube), or he wants to talk about it you are there for him. Don’t do it excessively, but a couple times of day.
Hugs and Prayers :heavy_heart_exclamation: I’m sorry for your loss.

Maybe buy him something he’s been asking for that might occupy his mind for a bit? A new game? Book? 12 is a hard age as it is, and dealing with such an awful thing makes it even worse, I’m so sorry for the loss of his aunt, truly terrible. When I was his age whenever I was sad about stuff I found it hard to talk to my mum, about how I was personally feeling because I felt like I needed to stay strong for her. On google if you go onto childline, you can make an account and have a 1-2-1 chat with a counsellor about anything, I found it good when I was his age to be able to vent to someone who I didn’t have to see. I know you are his mum and you are there for him to vent too, but sometimes kids at his age would rather talk to someone different, my mum is brilliant always been there and made aware I could speak to her about anything, but at that age I just didn’t want to talk to her about my personal pain, I hope this helps and I hope he takes the grieving process we,ll!x

So I make custom teddy bears and pillows out of tee shirts or clothes of a lost loved one. I have found that they really do help people in mourning. If I can help anyone in anyway, please feel free to reach out. I started doing this when I was mourning my grandfather, and now I enjoy helping other people with it. My inbox is always open for those who may need anything, even just to talk.


Books! If he likes to read, there are books that teach about grief and try to explain death for young children. I read one in my early childhood education class called The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, and there are lots more!

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My daughters counselor at school suggested she write down memories on a piece op paper and put them in a “memory box” She can go to the box anytime she needs to to start the healing process

Let him know that you are there for him. If you wish to, read Psalms 23 from your Bible if you have one.

Sit down as a family…and talk about her. Take turns telling a funny story, or a wonderful memory. Go around and around a few times, taking turns. It’s so sad to loose a loved one, but we must always remember all the things they brought into our lives.
I’m sorry for your loss. It’s never easy. Your doing good with him by what i read. Have some extra family time. Watch a favorite movie, extra snuggle at bed time.

Sounds like you are doing everything right to me. Maybe see if he wants to frame a photo of the two of them together, or even have your own little memorial service at home together under the current situation. Also, maybe see if it’s possible (depending on custody agreements and everything) if he can stay with his father’s family for a few days, being surrounded by those who are also grieving may normalize the process for him.

May the lord bless his sweet heart and bring him peace. Praying for him.

You have been exelent in explaning to him in time he will understand takes time

I am going through this with 12yr old daughter also. My mom just passed away in February. Her biggest fear seems to be that her Grammy will be forgotten. I explained as long as we hold her in our hearts she will never be truly gone. We speak of her daily, have a picture of her in our living room, etc. and these things have helped so much. Now we are faced with having to cancel her celebration of life due to the pandemic and that is where she is struggling now.

Each child is different explain the truths let him ask the questions