Children feel and display grief in different ways depending on their age, environment, and how close they were to the person that died. As adults it is our duty to make sure that our children are properly guided in dealing with grief.
Below are some things parents can do to help children cope with the loss of a loved one.
Use Simple & Clear Words When Talking About Death
When informing a child that a loved one has died, approach them in a caring way. It is important to be honest and not give them false hopes. Use words that the child can easily understand and then give them some time to process your words.
Upon learning the death of a loved one some kids cry, some ask questions, and some don’t seem to react at all, but that’s okay. Every child reacts differently. Offer hugs, comfort and emotional support to your child and answer their questions if they have any. Remember to be honest and direct, but gentle at the same time. Encourage your child to talk about how they feel about the loss. Make them feel they’re in a safe and secure environment. It also helps to tell them how you’re feeling as well.
Explain the Function of Funerals
Allow your child to participate in funeral activities such as viewing and memorial services. If you have specific traditions or beliefs in your family, make sure you explain it to your child. Let them know what is going on and why. Give them an active yet minor role, something that a child can easily do to keep them occupied in more than one thing and to prevent them from being overwhelmed by grief.
But of course let them decide for themselves if they want to join.
Overcoming grief is a process. It is not something that happens overnight. Some people take longer to heal than others and that’s okay. At this point, it is important to just give your child some time to heal. Don’t pressure them into moving on. Ask them from time to time how they’re doing and offer emotional support. Encourage your child to focus on their happier memories with the deceased instead of the grief and not dwell too much on the sadness.
Moving on from grief does not mean forgetting the deceased, but remembering them with love and affection.
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