Losing a loved one is the most difficult and heart-breaking experience to go through. The pain cuts deep for us adults and it leaves me wondering how it affects the kids. We as adults try to find ways to cope after losing a loved one but how do we help our little ones cope? Children and grief is a real thing, no matter how much they try to mask their emotions.
I managed to talk to a couple of mommies who lost loved ones and their kids were affected by it. One thing that they both had in common is that the kids still include the deceased ones in their daily lives. Children never forget easily. You would think they have forgotten about the deceased only to hear them talking about those they’ve lost as if they are still alive.
Children and grief: 4 ways you can help
Kids grieve in different ways . It is important that we not only acknowledge their emotions, but also learn how to deal with chidren and grief. In fact, it is our job to gently guide them through the grieving process. Below are some tips that can be helpful in assisting the little ones during this time:
Tell them the truth
I think the first thing to consider when it comes to loss of a loved one is to tell the kid(s) the truth about what happened. I have heard instances where the children are told that the person who died went to a far away place. I think it’s not wise to do that because children are human just like us and they deserve to know the truth. They might not understand the concept of death fully but they will grasp it with their little minds and that matters. I know this is done to protect them but protecting them with a lie might do more harm than good in the long run.
Keep memories alive
One of the many ways to help deal with children and grief is to encourage the kids to keep the memories of the deceased alive. If they still remember the deceased’ s birthday, let them do something special in honour of them .Remind them of the special occasions you shared with the deceased, show them pictures of the good times you shared with the deceased. Avoid blocking the memories and trying to make the kids forget about the deceased sooner.
Let them express themselves
Children express themselves in different ways and one of them is through playing it out or even drawing pictures of a certain experience. One mommy that I spoke to about this says her child was grieving her uncle who was really close to her. She found a drawing done by her child who drew the uncle ‘s coffin and a couple other things relating to him. Beneath the drawing she wrote that she missed him. For the mom it was sad and really touching to see that drawing but it was also a hint for her to continue being there for her grieving child.
Seek professional help
Grieving is a normal experience but it becomes abnormal when the child starts hurting him or herself to deal with it. Your job as a parent is to gently hold their hand in the grieving journey. During the grieving process some kids even perform poorly at school, some become moody, some isolate themselves and struggle to play with others. All these are part of the process. However, if you feel like they are acting in an inappropriate, abnormal manner and its worrying then its best to seek professional help.
I hope this was helpful to some parent or guardian out there. Please feel free to share your experience with regards to children and grief in the comments section down below.
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