The loss of a loved one leaves a hole in your heart that will never heal. A child has a hard time understanding the circle of life. They feel the loss as significantly as you, but they don’t know how to communicate with you regarding their hurt effectively. Here are four ways that you can help them to cope with this difficult time.
Don’t try to sugarcoat the truth. Be honest with your children. They cannot grasp their loss, so you need to help them understand in an age-appropriate way. Don’t tell them that their loved one went away for a while or some other half-truth that will only confuse them more. Instead, sit down and encourage them to share their feelings.
Don’t be afraid to cry with your child. Let them know it’s reasonable to feel sad when someone passes away. Be open to questions. Some parents believe that children should be shielded from grief and will avoid talking about death, but that is only adding confusion to their pain.
Prepare Them for the Upcoming Memorials
Explain to your children what the next steps will be in the memorial of your loved one. Wakes, funerals, memorial services, and Shivas are some of the cultural and faith-based ways your family may give respect when someone passes. If your children attend a funeral and see their grandparent in a casket, then many questions may arise. Let them know what to expect so that they can mentally prepare.
Counseling is an excellent outlet for suffering children. When you cannot reach your child, someone else may be able to. Play therapy is a unique way for your child to express themselves without getting too personal. It’s hard for a child to say how they feel, and burying stuff deep is a recipe for disaster. Even the use of a psychic line may be beneficial.
Keep Them Active
The best way to keep a mind healthy is to stay active. Invite friends over to the home to help them keep their mind off things. Play-dates are a great way to get them laughing and having a good time. While there is an appropriate period for grief, your child needs to learn that life goes on. They can grieve, but they still must live.
As adults, how can we possibly explain something to children that we don’t understand ourselves? In these situations, we must do the best we can. A shoulder to cry on and a hug can do more to help a broken heart than what you would think. Also, outlets to help cope with grief are essential.