When a loved one passes away many children feel loss and grief in differing ways. How your children will deal with the loss of a loved one depends on a variety of factors such as the support they experience, their age and how close they were to the person they have lost.
If you are concerned about talking to your children about the loss of a loved one, you are not alone. Many waiver when it comes to discussing loss, particularly with young children. Loss is an inescapable fact of life, however, so it is important that we discuss this with our children. By opening up the conversation about loss, we have the ability to find out what our children know and what they need to learn and we can help them by providing them with necessary information.
It is important that we as parents are there to guide our children through the rollercoaster of grief and help them by providing age-appropriate information.
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN THROUGH LOSS
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LISTEN AND PROVIDE COMFORT
It is important to listen to your child and provide the comfort they need. Every child will respond differently to learning that someone they love has passed. Some children ask questions, some cry, and some may seem not to have much of a reaction at all. These are all very normal responses and perfectly okay. Offer reassurance and hugs and answer any questions they have.
FIND GRIEF PROGRAMS IN YOUR AREA
Some areas may offer grief counseling programs. These programs can have a very positive effect on children that are experiencing loss of any kind while letting them know that they are not alone. Programs designed for grieving children offer activities, coping mechanisms, and support.
HELP YOUR CHILD REMEMBER
It is important that we don’t avoid mentioning the loved one that was lost. Avoidance is not the answer. It is a good idea to encourage your child to draw pictures, write stories or share their feelings about their loss. Sharing positive memories can help to activate positive feelings and combat grief.
GIVE YOUR CHILD TIME
Healing takes time. It is not going to happen overnight. Don’t expect your kids to miraculously recover from their grief, it is perfectly normal for them to feel sad. Remember, healing doesn’t mean forgetting though, it means being able to remember the person with love.
Grief is a hard thing to watch your children experience. It is very important that we help them work through it in a positive manner and remember, if you need help there are programs and counseling out there that can give you a helping hand in assisting your child to deal with their grief.
You can also check out these books on grief, and parenting a child through grief:
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