Work with Children & Young People
Many of our volunteers have been specially trained to work with children and young people. They understand the challenges that grieving youngsters face – for example, the impact that living with grieving adults can have on them and how siblings can need individual support. Our volunteers can also help when someone a child’s own age dies.
We have been actively involved through the Perth and Kinross School Bereavement Project for a number of years. We aim to extend this work to all our regions as soon as possible.
The two stories below, in which the names have been changed, show how valuable this work is:
Tom's story: Tom is 7 years of age and his mum died following a short illness several months prior to his referral to CBCS.
Tom just went with the flow at school, however, his guidance teacher became concerned when the quality of his work in class plummeted and his behaviour in school deteriorated. Following a discussion with his dad, the guidance teacher suggested that he might benefit from the support of CBCS.
Our volunteer met Tom in school as he felt comfortable there – this was all agreed with his dad and arranged through the school. From their first meeting, it was made clear to Tom that these meetings with the volunteer were on his terms and anything discussed was in confidence and would only be shared with his permission. Once Tom was comfortable with the volunteer and was able to share his story about losing his mum, things started to improve. The meetings each lasted about an hour and continued weekly for about two months.
With Tom's permission, the volunteer met with his dad. She explained to him what Tom was experiencing and gave him guidance and support on how to help Tom through his loss. The volunteer also told the guidance teacher about Tom’s worries about his school work and as a result, learning support needs were identified and put in place by the school.
done on his behalf.
Soon after sessions started, the guidance teacher remarked how Tom’s behaviour and concentration were improving. His dad also recognised that Tom, who had been introverted and isolated since the death of his mum, was gaining self-confidence and was slowly returning to his old self. As for dad, he became better equipped to provide the structure Tom needed in his life, and felt able to provide the comfort and support Tom needed through this difficult time.
Tom has now moved on with his life in the knowledge that CBCS are still there, at the end of a telephone, if he needs to talk to them in the future.
A reassured Father: The father of a 13-year old boy, Calum, called the national phoneline about three months after his wife (Calum’s mother) had died following a long illness.
During the illness Calum had been distressed that his mum was so ill; he was old enough to understand how serious her condition was. His father’s main concern during that time was for his wife and this left their son fairly isolated. Since his mum’s death, Calum had become more withdrawn, his schoolwork suffered and his attitude towards his father was hostile. The father, who was himself grieving, was at his wits end and phoned the CBCS phoneline to ask for help for his son.
Our phoneline volunteer spent about 45 minutes on the phone listening to the father's concerns, reassuring him that Calum’s behaviour was normal – both from the point of view of a boy who has just lost his mum and also fairly common in adolescent teenagers.
A coping strategy was discussed which involved the father providing structure and security in Calum’s life alongside caring support and encouragement. The father’s need of his own support network was discussed and one of his close friends was identified as a confidant.
He was also advised that there was a range of support which could be offered to Calum by CBCS, however, it was important that he asked for this help himself by calling the phoneline. The father thanked the volunteer and said that he was reassured by talking things through and felt more able to empathise with what his son was going through and would be aware of potential challenges in the future.
These websites are specifically for youngsters
The Little Website - This site contains pictures and messages from primary school children in a number of schools in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.
Hope Again - This site is managed by our sister charity, Cruse Bereavement Care.
The Smart Grief Guide - This guide has been developed by a group of secondary school students to help young people.