Chapter 1: Communication strategies


teacher communicating with student

“I felt terrible and I knew by the sadness in her eyes I had blurted out the wrong thing. It wasn’t my intent, but somehow, my sympathy came out all wrong”.  – Teacher

Most families will begin to grieve when they learn that someone has a life-threatening illness. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable when reaching out to someone who is grieving. Many people are concerned about ‘saying the wrong thing’ or ‘making things worse.

This chapter will provide you with some tips when speaking to your grieving student and their families as well as some specific words to say that can be comforting to the family and words to avoid that, although well-intentioned, can be offensive or hurtful.