In their developing years, when children suffer the trauma of losing a loved one, it is devastating.
Be it a pet or a grandparent or in some unfortunate event, a parent—they need a lot of support and direction on getting over this loss. Every human being has their own grieving process and a child is no less.
This article is all about how to let your children grieve the loss and help them get through it.
After The Loss
Death affects us all in weird and different ways. If you have more than one kid, you may notice all of them show their emotions in a variety of ways. This can be attributed to both personality and developmental age.
It is true that youngsters grieve in different ways than adults. Young children may have no concept of death or the fact that people who have died will not return.
They may be concerned that they are to blame for the death. They may, on the other hand, appear unconcerned about it, or even go from sobbing to wanting to play in a matter of seconds.
It’s also natural for a child to feel resentment toward the person who has died (or resent someone else entirely). Children may get a better understanding as they grow older, but they will still require assistance from their parents and other caregivers in processing and coping with loss.
It’s difficult to know what to say and how to support youngsters during this time. It’s likely that you’re grieving and trying to make sense of your own feelings.
While you can’t prevent children from loss and the sadness it can bring, you can help them feel safe and deal in the best way possible.
Who, What, And How to Say It
All Children have their favorite human no. 1 and no. 2. When you are about to deliver the news to the kid, it is necessary to come from someone who is closest to them.
It is absolutely okay if the person breaking the news to them is crying but also can keep their emotions in control at the same time. This tends to alarm the kids and make the already scary situation worse.
If their favorite human cannot deliver the news, the next person he is close to should do it.
During this time the only and main concern is to not let the news get to them from another source.
Don’t beat around the bush when delivering the news to the kid; also do it in an environment where the kid will feel comfortable and will have the freedom to express his grief.
With kids, it’s best to deliver minimum information and not go into the gory details. As long as it’s done in a genuine and compassionate way, the kids will have a maximum chance to come out of this traumatic experience.
Who Else Should You Inform?
If there has been a big loss, the persons with whom your child spends her time must be informed.
Teachers, school counselors, coaches, after-school program directors, and other members of the family should all be informed.
It’s important to remember that you can inform your child’s school staff, and it may stay on their radar for a week or two, but if the death is significant—such as the death of a parent—your child will be dealing with it throughout the year, and you may need to check-in and remind them on a regular basis.
You should also inform the parents of any of your child’s close pals if they are younger. If your child is in middle or high school, you should ask them if she wants you to inform her classmates’ parents or if they prefer that you do so.
Tackling Special Events
If your loved one passes away during a holiday, it’s ridiculous to expect you to be able to have a pleasant celebration.
You may be able to find some joy, but odds are that everyone will be focused on the loss of the person who has died, and you should not try to hide or push your child’s pain.
Nonetheless, you should mention significant events such as a child’s birthday or graduation, as neglecting them can be terrible.
These are the times that they need their loved ones who are dead the most. Try incorporating the loved one on that day through a different medium.
If you have photos of a happy day without a dead loved one, my company knows exactly how to paint a lost loved one in the family photos.
If the person who died was close, the entire year will be filled with “firsts” without that person, making events like the first Thanksgiving, birthday, Christmas, or Hanukkah difficult.
Do your best to keep traditions alive as much as possible. Just to make the moment more meaningful try gifting some relevant and thoughtful gifts too.
But remember that you and your kid will most certainly feel both joy and grief.
Does Your Kid Need Professional Help?
Grief is a natural process that takes time to complete.
However, if your child’s symptoms last longer than six months or are really debilitating, she may require expert counseling to overcome her sadness.
The following are some symptoms that your kid may want professional assistance with:
- The belief that the world is inherently dangerous
- Anger, irritability, and moodiness
- Concentration issues
- Disturbances in appetite or sleep
- Problems with conduct that persist
- In early children, persistent reversion to previous behaviors such as clinging, bedwetting, or thumb-sucking
- Sleeping problems
- Withdrawal or detachment from others
- Adolescents’ use of alcohol or drugs
- Inability or unwillingness to attend school, learn, or play with peers
- Depression is still present.
- Suicidal ideation
Take Care Of Yourself Too
While it may be natural to want to protect and soothe your children, it is critical that you get treatment for your own loss.
If you’re a parent or a caregiver for a grieving child, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Look for reliable sources of assistance. According to research, a child’s well-being following death is connected to the well-being of the adults in his life.
This does not imply that you should keep your sadness hidden from your child. Rather, it means surrounding yourself with people and activities that bring you joy. If you want assistance or time to relax and clear your mind, make it a priority to request it.
By seeking help, you are modeling self-care for your children and assuring them that you will have the energy and presence to be there for them.
Accept assistance from family, friends, and maybe mental health experts.
A child going through a traumatic experience at such an age will always haunt him, but accepting and helping him heal through it is a parent’s responsibility.
There are many ways you can help emotionally like talking to them, being a shoulder to cry on, and telling them that whatever they are going through and feeling is okay.
Not just that but physically you can help in many ways too like giving them memorial keepsakes, books to read, and much more.
Who am I? A Montessori educator.
What a pleasure to recognize and interpret each child’s needs!
How exciting to help children become self-reliant and support them in their process of self-development.
I am also truly passionate about guiding adults in building their relationship with children.