Young people who lose a parent are less likely to talk about their feelings, according to findings from Child of the News Century (CNC).
Bereaved children tend to keep their fears and feelings to themselves. This could pose risks to their emotional health. The Childhood Bereavement Network, a charity based at the National Children’s Bureau, is reminding families, friends and those working with young people that it’s vital to listen to them.
The charity used information from more than 13,000 CNC study members from across the UK. The report’s authors analysed information you provided during the Age 11 Survey. They found that more than 1 in 4 of those who had lost a parent said they would keep their worries to themselves, compared to 1 in 5 young people whose parents were still alive.
They were also more likely to hide their feelings from others, compared to those who had not lost a parent. According to the study, bereaved children were also less likely to talk to someone at home about their anxieties (60 per cent compared to 72 per cent) or share problems with a friend (28 per cent compared with 40 per cent).
The study was launched to coincide with UK Children’s Grief Awareness Week. It was promoted by charities concerned with the effects of bereavement on young people. The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that 1 in 29 school age children in the UK have lost a parent or sibling, and 24,000 parents die each year leaving children age 15 or younger still living at home.
Joanne Anning, chair of the network said ‘it’s really important for grieving children to know they have somewhere to turn, someone who will listen. Specialist support services should be available in local areas.’