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Helping Your Children Navigate Grief

There are times in life that are unexpected and can blindside our children and us. The death of someone they loved, whether unexpectedly or after an illness, can still feel like a painful surprise. 

Parenting from Prison

We might feel like we need to keep our children shielded from pain, but repressed pain like this can cause long-term issues. And that goes for you too. 

So here are some gentle tips that can help you support your children through what are some of the most challenging times. 

 

You too

Something that you might forget about in the process of taking care of funeral planning, supporting your friends and family, and sorting through bags of clothing you hadn’t seen in a while – is you. 

In order for you to play a supporting role for your children, you need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself too. 

Honesty 

Some deaths are natural causes, and others aren’t; you need to decide if your child can deal with the causes of death if they ask. How many details you tell them is up to you, but try to think about the emotional response they will have, and if they are at an age that they can make it make sense. 

Children need to hear the truth from people that they love and respect, so if you are able to take this role, then do so. 

Take into account that sometimes what children say at the moment might not be how they really feel; they are just going to try to process things. 

Share 

While you probably want to share how you are feeling, there should be room for your child to share too. Listening to what is happening when your child plays and talks can give you some indication of how they are feeling. 

Your child might grieve in a different way than you thought, so if they don’t appear to be crying or particularly upset, try not to force your way of grieving on them. Children might go through a massive range of emotions before they get to crying. Often anger, confusion, worries, and fear can come before the sadness. 

Give them space to move through those moments, and share your own too. 

You can also take time to share stories about the person and fun anecdotes – this can help remind everyone that the person was around and is still very much a part of their life. 

Get creative

One of the best ways that children can express and process their emotions when it comes to grief is by doing something creative. While creativity can be an escape from things, it can also help with processing feelings. 

You can join in with the activities, and you might also find some comfort in them. 

And finally, try to keep all of the regular routines within reason, but keep in mind that your child might not feel like going to school – and if they do, they might need to be picked up later because they begin to not feel great. 

Depending on the circumstances, you might need to seek extra advice and support for yourself, too: How to Cope with Your Loved One’s Wrongful Death | OC Mom Blog

 

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