Talking to your children about the death of the Queen


I woke up this morning wondering about how much more (if at all) I needed to discuss the death of the Queen with my kids. You might be wondering the same. For my kids, the reaction when they heard the Queen had died followed in line with their respective personalities. My teenage son was quiet as if he was taking it in (but equally could have been thinking of something else), going back to his homework fairly quickly. My 13 year old daughter was much more overtly emotional, lots of questions about what would happen next, then pausing and asking if she should check on her friends.


Tweens and teens might take the news in different ways as they are old enough to remember various times when the Queen has entered into conversations and events at home and at school. They may have fond memories at Jubilee parties or might remember the passing of Prince Phillip. An eight year old will have a very different experience to a 13 year old or even older. You'll probably approach the conversation differently depending on the emotional maturity of your child.


Speaking to your child about death

By Original: Joel Rouse/ Ministry of DefenceDerivative: nagualdesign - defenceimagery.mod.uk,

This may be the first time your child has really thought about death, and with that may come some anxieties. Winston's Wish is a charity which provides support for grieving children. They have a fantastic article on how do discuss the Queen's death with your children.


The key is to ensure that your child feels able to ask you questions and to help aid their process of understanding how it affects them - from the perspective of the whole country mourning and any fears/worries they have personally as well.


Also your tween or teen (depending on their age) will have outside influences talking to them about this loss and what it means. Your children will very likely be talking about the Queen's passing at school and with friends as well. So you may not be involved in all of the conversations they have. As Winston's Wish states, "Children will look to adults around them to make sense of grief and try to understand how should react. It’s ok to explore feelings with children and give them permission to explore their feelings with you."




Give yourself some time to grieve too


You might notice that the Queen's death has triggered sadness in you. Either a memory of a family member passing or even thinking of all the moments the Royal Family featured in your life in some way. It's important and okay to tell your child that you're also feeling sad. Be sure to take time for self-care as coping with grief and loss affects us all differently.


The right time to talk

As with most conversations with your tweens and teens, there is no right way to do it. A few ways to get your child to open up include looking at something or facing forward (rather than each other). So going for a walk, a drive or even whilst watching a bit of telly all make way for a better interaction.


You can also use a person or character to stimulate the conversation. Perhaps start with asking how you think King Charles III might be feeling now or perhaps remembering Paddington Bear's interaction with the Queen in the film.


Ultimately you can set the stage and be led by your child. They may or may not want to explore this topic further. Perhaps they've been affected by a recent loss or an ill family member. Our article on dealing with grief is also a helpful resource.


If you feel they would benefit from more formal help - especially if they've recently dealt with loss or death, please visit www.winstonswish.org.



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