Sibling Death and Childhood Traumatic Grief

The death of someone special can be very difficult and sad for a child or teen, but when it is a sibling who dies, the family faces a unique set of challenges. Siblings often have very complicated relationships. Sisters and brothers experience a range of sometimes conflicting feelings for each other. When a sibling dies, these past relationships and feelings can affect the surviving child's grief and the family's bereavement process.

NCTSN Resource

Sibling Death and Childhood Traumatic Grief: Information for Families (2009) (PDF)
This publication offers caregivers information about the particular grief reactions that a child may have when a brother or sister dies and provides tips to help the grieving child. An extensive listing of books—organized by age of the intended audience—websites, and videos is included. Sibling Death and Childhood Traumatic Grief also offers self-care advice for caregivers to help them cope with their own grief reactions.


Additional Resource

Below are lists of some of the many resources on sibling death and childhood traumatic grief available to parents and caregivers, children, and professionals. Links to Web-accessible resources are also provided.

Please note that all product descriptions are based on information provided by the publisher or manufacturer, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the NCTSN. Inclusion on this site is not an endorsement of any product by the NCTSN.

Sibling Death and Traumatic Grief Additional Resources - For Caregivers (2010) (PDF)
Sibling Death and Traumatic Grief Additional Resources - For Children and Teens (2010) (PDF)
Sibling Death and Traumatic Grief Additional Resources - For Professionals (2010) (PDF)

Compassionate Friends. (1993). This healing path. Northbrook, IL: Film Ideas, Inc.
This 35-minute video addresses issues and concerns that affect those who are grieving the loss of a sibling. It includes an introduction by former Chicago Bear middle linebacker Mike Singletary, himself a bereaved sibling, and a discussion guide. The siblings interviewed share their pain, sadness, anger, and fear. They also discuss issues such as parental over protectiveness and their own hope for the future as they meet the challenge of their loss.