Throughout life, there are always ups and downs. It’s absolutely wonderful when the ups happen and can be devastating going through the downs.
Grief can be one of the hardest emotions to conquer, and that is especially true for children. They don’t have the years of experience behind them that have helped them learn how to cope. Should there be a child in your life who is going through grief, try some of these tips to help them with it.
You, as an adult, have had years to master the art of dealing with all the emotions associated with those ups and downs; however, it can be hard as a child. If you know of a child who is dealing with a low period in their lives, please take a look at these 7 tips for helping a child deal with grief.
Listen with an Open Heart
Sometimes it is therapeutic to just let it all out. If your child is grieving, listen with an open heart, and an open mind. Don’t judge anything they may say, let the words flow out of them so that they’re not stuck swimming around in their minds. It is very damaging for anyone to sit with their own thoughts when grieving and since children haven’t developed all of their coping skills yet, offer to them a kind ear.
Answer with Honesty
It can be hard while grieving to talk about your loss. If your child is asking questions regarding the loss, answer with honesty. Honesty is the key to helping develop your child’s coping mechanisms as well as their overall mental health. Let them ask the hard questions and answer to the best of your abilities. Remember to place yourself outside of the situation when answering so as not to allow your own emotions to cloud the information your child needs to grieve properly.
Remember the Good Times
You want to make the memories that your child looks back on to be wonderful. Help them remember the good times with the person they have lost. Give them memories to look back on and smile. Laugh with them about funny things you both may have experienced with the one that was lost.
Do Not Forget Your Own Grief
While putting your child’s grief first is best when dealing with them one-on-one during their grieving process, do not forget your own grief, too. Children learn a great deal from the adults they interact with, so allowing yourself to grieve properly will help teach them the skills they will need later in life, should they be faced with a loss in the future.
Keep Your Normal Routine
It’s quite easy to let things go by the wayside when you’re grieving, but for the sake of your child, you should keep your normal routine as on-point as possible. Children need, in general, a routine during their development and this should be kept as much as possible while grieving. Their normal daily routine will add a calming tone to their surroundings amongst all the chaos caused by a loss.
Take Part in the Funeral
After suffering a loss, it is a healthy grieving technique to take part in the funeral. Your child will be able to have their final goodbye moment in a calming setting. A lot of children’s first loss is a pet, and if this is the case for your child, consider having a funeral of sorts for the deceased pet. Let your child say a few words. They may be able to let out things they may not have shared with you.
Identify Abnormal Grieving
Sometimes you try your best for your child to help them get through a tough time, but it doesn’t seem quite enough and you may identify abnormal grieving processes that may be detrimental to their development. Should you happen to notice that your child is not dealing with their loss properly, consider going with them to a professional therapist. There may be deeper issues your child needs to work out so they come through this a stronger, healthier person.
Losing a loved one is never something you want to go through. Most definitely not something you want your child to experience. But it doesn’t have to negatively impact them if you follow these 7 tips for helping a child deal with grief. Be kind, love your child and you can not only help them but strengthen your relationship in the process.