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How to Help Your Child Overcome Grief

Category: 

Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Aug 04, 2015

child grief tips blog

Dealing with grief over a lost loved one is one of the most difficult experiences people have to deal with in life. Overcoming grief is difficult enough for an adult, but can be even more challenging for a child. While adults have a firm grasp on what death means, children will likely have a difficult time fully comprehending the permanent nature of death. It is important to keep in mind the limited knowledge your child has of death when discussing a lost loved one with him or her. Here are some tips to consider when helping your child deal with grief.

                Remember that children don’t see many things as permanent. Children of preschool age will probably not understand that death means that someone is not coming back. It’s natural for adults to use euphemisms for death such as “I lost my father” or “my husband passed away.” However, children don’t understand these phrases the same way that adults do. When children hear that “we lost Grandpa” or “Grandma passed away” they may simply think that Grandpa needs to be found or Grandma left for a while but will return. Instead of using these phrases around your child after a death has occurred, use unambiguous language like “Grandma died.” It may be difficult to bring yourself to use these words, especially if the lost loved one was close to you, but remember it will have a more concrete impact on the child’s understanding of death. If it’s too difficult to discuss the death in this manner at first, ask for help from a spouse, aunt, or uncle.

 

child grief advice blog

 

                As important as it is for the child to understand that death is permanent, it’s also critical for them to be able to remember the person who passed away. So don’t be afraid to talk about the person who died. Remembering the loved one is an important part of the grieving process for persons of all ages. Talk about your favorite memories with your child about the person. Not only does this help associate good memories with the lost loved one at a time that may be quite painful, it also teaches children that it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about people who are now dead. Talking about the deceased is how we keep the memories of them close and how they can continue to live on and impact the living.

                Be brave when your child has questions about death. Our personal beliefs can help to ease our minds about many of the questions we all have about death, but much about death is still a great mystery to us all. If your child is asking questions about death that make you uncomfortable, keep in mind that this discomfort is something that you both share. Working with your kid to help him or her understand death as much as possible will help you heal, too. Just as you would with any adult, listen to your child’s questions and respect their feelings without judgment.