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Supporting A Grieving Child

Category: 

Grieving Process

Posted On: Sep 06, 2016

Supporting A Grieving Child

As parents, we try to shield our children from negativity and difficult situations. We work hard to minimize their exposure to circumstances that cause pain, anxiety, and confusion. However, there are tragedies that we can’t control. Dealing with grief is already hard enough as an adult and it can be even harder for a child who’s experiencing losing a loved one for the first time. Here are some ways you can support your grieving child.

Talk About It

Encourage your child to share their feelings about losing a loved one. Sharing your own feelings or a story about someone you’ve lost, may help them open up to you. Children need to know that whatever emotions they are having, even if it’s anger or frustration, it’s okay. Seeing you display these types of feelings during a loss will also help them feel less alone. For the child, it can be very confusing to feel emotionally overwhelmed while your parents appear to be untroubled by the loss.

Express It

While this is a hard time for your family, it’s also a good opportunity to teach your child healthy ways to deal with “negative” emotions. Let your child express their feelings in a medium they enjoy. This could be drawing, painting, singing, story-telling, or another activity. If your child is reluctant to participate, volunteer to do the activity with them.

Don’t Avoid It

Some parents choose to avoid talking about difficult subjects with their children. However, whether you address it or not, your child does have feelings associated with losing a loved one and will grieve. It’s best to be proactive and help them through this difficult time as best as you can. One way is to keep the person who has passed as part of our life through stories, talking about their favorite things, or asking your child questions about their memories.

Pay Attention

If your child is having serious issues coping with their loss and dealing with grief, it may be time to seek help from a professional. The school counselor or a grief counselor may be able to help your child deal with their loss in a healthier way. Typical signs that it’s time to seek help are aggressive behavior, depression, loss of interest in their favorite things, and acting out for attention.

Set the Example

Children often model themselves after their parents and will sometimes look to you to determine how they should feel or respond to a situation. By setting a healthy example of how to cope with your child, you are encouraging them to cope in a healthy way as well.