Helping Children Grieve

The loss of a loved one is difficult for everyone involved, especially children.   Children will react in different ways to a loss.  Some children will be in shock and others will not show any emotion at all. Because they are not yet fully mature, it is important to not impose the same expectations on a child as an adult.

Here are some ways you can help a child who has experienced the loss of a loved one:

Talk Honestly

Talk to the child involved in a way that is appropriate for their age level and understanding.  It may not be wise to share every detail with a child but being honest with them will help them feel comfortable sharing their own feelings and will help them to trust you in the future as a person they can turn to.

children grieve

Listen Respectfully

Encourage children to ask questions and reassure them that it’s okay to talk about what they are feeling.  Children will feel most comfortable when adults respect their questions and show a desire to help them find their own answers.  Avoid telling a child how they should feel.  Let them express what they are thinking and feeling and be a good listener.   Allow the child to tell their own story related to the loss.

Give Children Time

The time it takes to grieve is different for everyone.  If you are dealing with multiple children during the grieving process, don’t expect that they will all grieve in the same way.  The amount of time needed for a child to cope and get used to life without their loved one will vary.   Don’t push children to resume “normal” activities without giving them time to process their feelings and emotions.

Allow Personal Grieving

Grieving is an individual process.  There is no one “right” way to grieve.   Children will manage their grief in different ways based upon circumstances, relationship, age, and maturity level.  Any person who is grieving will have ups and downs and children are no exception.   You can see how different people act during Los Angeles funeral services. Allow children to follow their own path to grieve the loss of their loved one. That doesn’t mean leaving them to fend for themselves, just simply understanding that their ways may not be the same as yours.

Let Yourself Grieve

It is important to give the children around you the time and attention they need, but don’t neglect your own needs in the process.  One of the best things you can do to help a child deal with a loss is to let yourself grieve.  Take care of your own emotional needs by talking to family and friends, getting counseling, seeking help from religious leaders or talking to a counselor.

Grief is a difficult process for both adults and children.   Talking and listening will help children navigate the process.  Giving children time and letting them grieve in their own unique way will help them to feel cared for and secure and will allow them to heal and to move on.  When you take care of yourself and your need to grieve, you can better help the children in your life.

 

Written by Darla: a mother of four, fitness enthusiast, small business owner and freelance writer for SereniCare Funeral Homes.  Other writing topics include family finances, parenting and health.

Image Credits: Flicker

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