Kids' Health
Visit website  
Home › Topics › Your Feelings > 

Coping with change - loss and grief

loss; change; grief; sad; feelings; confidence; pets ;


Losing things that are important to you

This topic is not about losing things like your school book or your pencil. It is about losing things that are very important to you.

  • It is about times when something or somebody that you care about isn't there any more.
  • It's about understanding your feelings as you deal with that loss.
  • It's about what you can do to help you through the sad times.

Sometimes what you lose can seem not very important to other people, but it might be special and important to you, and you might feel very sad about it.

Have you ever lost something?

How did you feel?

  • petsLike you couldn't believe it?
  • Were you angry with yourself or someone else?
  • Did you feel sad that you had lost something?
  • Were you sorry that you didn't look after it more?
  • Were you afraid that someone might blame you?
  • Did you blame yourself for losing it?
  • Like you couldn't think about anything else?
  • Like nothing would ever be the same again.?

It's OK to feel any of these feelings.

Everyone loses something at some time and has many of these kinds of feelings.

There are different kinds of loss.

Sometimes you lose things

loss and griefSomeone may have stolen something.

You may have lost it yourself.

There may have been an accident, fire, flood or burglary in which you lost things.

Sometimes you lose confidence

Maybe there was a break-in at your house and now you feel a bit scared.

Maybe you or someone you know had an accident or was very ill.

Maybe a parent or your carer lost their job.

Maybe you have found out that you need to have special medication, special teaching and special help with hearing, or seeing things clearly.

Maybe you lost your place on the team or didn't do as well as you thought you would in a test.

Sometimes you lose control of your health

Sometimes something happens to your body and it stops you being able to do things that you expect to be able to do.

  • Maybe you have had an accident or become very sick
  • You may have had to stay in hospital for a while, or for a long time
  • You may have a lot of pain or have to have scary treatments, such as operations
  • You may have had lots of people helping you to get better, but you may not get all of your skills or health back
  • You may miss out on seeing your friends for a while, or not be able to go to school as usual
  • You may have to accept that your life will never be the same again.

It's not fair that kids should have bad accidents or get really sick, but it does happen and they may have to deal with a lot of changes. They may have a difficult time coping with losses of what they expected to be able to do.

Sometimes you lose pets

It is much harder when the loss is a living creature that we care about.

pets      pets

Your pet may have died.

Maybe you moved and you couldn't take the pet with you.

Maybe your pet ran away or got lost.

Sometimes you lose people

It is very hard when the loss is of someone you love.

People go out of your life in different ways.

Sometimes you lose friends

  • houseYou or your friend may move house.
  • Maybe one of you changes schools.
  • You may be in different classes in the same school.
  • You may join different groups outside school.
  • You or she might make different friends and spend less time together.
  • You or he may decide that you don't want to be friends any more.

There is always the chance that you may see each other in the future and may one day be friends again, but for now there might be a big gap in your life – and it can be hard to make new friends at first.

loss and griefSometimes you lose a person in your family

  • They may move out to start on their own.
  • They may go away to work or college.
  • They may get married.
  • They may just leave home for some reason.

You miss them and remember them (even if they were pretty bossy at times) but you know they are still around, somewhere. You can usually stay in touch and you may see them again some day.

Sometimes you may lose a parent

  • loss and griefMum or Dad may have to go somewhere else because of their work.
  • They may be having problems with their relationship.
  • They may want to live apart.
  • They may divorce. (See Divorce - when parents want to split if you want more information)

Even if a parent no longer lives with you, he or she is still around and you are usually able to stay in contact with them.

Sometimes someone you love could die - and that's the worse loss of all.

What can you do? 

You can talk to others who are close to you about the thing or person you have lost.

You can talk to a trusted adult about how you are feeling.

You could talk by phone, letter or email to a person who has moved away.

Write down how you feel.  Keep a diary. Then you can look back and see how you have gradually come to feel better.

When someone special has gone out of your life, you remember them for a long time, but you will feel less sad as time goes on.

Your memory of them becomes like the photos or mementoes you may have. You bring them out for a look now and again, but not all the time.

Live your life
You may have lots of feelings about losing these people, but as time goes by you can remember happy times with them without feeling too sad. 

What some children said

loss and grief

"I lost my dog one day. My family and I went knocking on everyone's door asking if they had seen her. When we got home we found her behind the door in some washing. We all laughed because she looked so funny and we were so happy to see her."


"My brother went overseas. I really missed him. He doesn't like writing letters but we spoke on the phone sometimes.

He seemed really different when he got back, like a stranger. When he had been home for a week we got used to each other and we were friends again, but not like before."

"My grandpa died. He used to take me to soccer, fishing and lots of other stuff. I really miss him." James 

Dr Kim says:

Dr Kim

Life is full of changes. Nothing stays exactly the same. People and things come into and go out of our lives. We can remember them as we get on with living each day and looking to the future.

Our topic on 'Grieving - working through loss' may help.


back to top

We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


Home › Topics › Your Feelings >