The words you should never say to a grieving parent – and what you should try instead

  • They have shared the most horrible things that people said to them, “in kindness” from their parents.
  • According to the parents of children who died, people are often wrong. 
  •  It is not appropriate to tell grieving parents that God has called them home.

Parents who have lost their baby are able to share the things they would never say and offer suggestions on how you can help them.

Sands Australia, an Australian support agency for parents who are grieving, has put together a list that people often tell children who have died.

They include the sayings “everything happens because of a reason” which may hurt, confuse or anger grieving people.

Grieving parents have revealed the hurtful things people said to them after they lost their babies

After losing their children, grieving parents share the heartbreaking things said about them by others

“Try to say, “I’m so sorry” for your pain,” the support service that has helped families for more than 30 years recommended via an Instagram post.

According to the service, most people say inappropriate things simply because they don’t know how else to express their feelings. 

They wrote that they know those who make mistakes in trying to support bereaved families are not always motivated by ill will.

A common expression is “Let me see if you can do anything.”

The service advises that they add a sense urgency, and refrain from asking the family members to contact you later in the day if they require help. This could cause them to feel uneasy.

Ask: “What can I do now to support you and your family?”

Don’t be discouraged if you lose your baby early in the pregnancy.

They considered the baby precious and they should acknowledge it by saying, “Every small life is precious.”

Sands have revealed a list of common things people say - and what they should try instead

Sands has compiled a list that people often say and suggested what to do instead.

Also, you should never promise someone that they’ll feel better soon.

You can tell them instead to have some time to grieve and take care of themselves.

You can ask your friends and family to help you instead of just saying, “I feel like you,”

Parents complained that their deceased children tried to make them feel guilty by telling them they didn’t want to see them sad.

Sands Australia suggested the opposite.

“It’s okay to let your feelings out and you can feel all kinds of emotions.”


DO NOT SAY: Everything happens for a reason  

TRY SAYING: My deepest sympathies for your pain 

DON’T SAY : I am available to help you.

TRY SAYING: Is there anything you can do now that would be beneficial to your family and me? 

DO NOT SAY: God surely needed an angel.

TRY SPEAKING: He or she must be so missing you. Please tell me more about them.

DON’T SAY : I couldn’t handle what you are going though.

TRY SINGING “I’m here for you and your family as long as it takes.”  

Don’t believe the rumors: It will soon feel better.

TRY SAYING: Take the time to be kind to yourself.

DO NOT SAY: You know what I feel.

TRY SAYING: Tell us about your day.

DO NOT SAY: They don’t want to see you sad or mad.


DON’T SAY : It’s not that far.

Try to say: Every day is precious.  

Also, you should not say things like “God needed another Angel”.

Recognize that the parents are missing their baby and talk to them.

It is not a good idea to tell your grieving parent that you can’t deal with their current situation.

You may feel they don’t have the strength to cope so offer support by saying, “I’m here for you and your family as long as it takes.” 

The parents also asked for the bereaved parents’ support. 

A mother said that she felt devastated after people suggested to her, “at least you didn’t lose both” when one of her twins had died. 

The post was liked by hundreds of parents.