How to Help Children Deal With Grief

The passing of a loved one can sometimes have a traumatic effect on children. Many children have a vague awareness of death, however, they may struggle to understand what it really means in terms of no longer being able to see or visit somebody they love anymore. As a parent, you cannot help your child to avoid the grief they’re feeling, but there are several things you can do to help them express their feelings and confront the pain they’re experiencing after losing a loved one.

Tip No. 1 – Recognize That All Children Grieve Differently

Just like adults, every child reacts to death differently. Some may appear more stoic, as though the death hasn’t affected them. Others may cry often or even go through rapid shifts in mood where they’re upset one minute and happily playing the next. You may also find that your child seems depressed, anxious, or even angry at the departed loved one for leaving them.

Whatever the case may be, understand that there is no “correct” way to grieve. Your child may be experiencing the feeling of such intense loss for the first time. As a parent, your main task is to guide them through their feelings rather than trying to get them to grieve in the way you may feel is most appropriate.

Tip No. 2 – Use Clear Language When Talking About Loss

Your first instinct may be to shield your child from language that directly relates to death and loss. While this protective instinct may be out of a desire to help, it may not help your child to overcome the feelings they’re experiencing. Softer expressions, such as “gone to sleep,” can be confusing for young children and may even make them fearful of falling asleep. Use clear language, explain what the words mean if your child is confused, but importantly do not confuse clarity with bluntness.

Tip No. 3 – Encourage Your Child to Express Their Feelings

Some children may feel like they need to bottle up their feelings, especially if they’re imitating adults who do the same. However, expressing feelings is healthy and you should try to encourage your child to work through their emotions.

This does not necessarily have to be done by talking.

Your child may feel more comfortable expressing what they’re going through by drawing, looking at photographs, or reading stories with you. If your child is not comfortable with talking about their loss, seek alternative methods that allow for expression.

Support Your Child and Yourself

While offering support to your child, never forget that your own grief is important too. In addition to confronting the same loss your child is experiencing, you’re also handling the difficult emotional experience of seeing your child go through pain. It’s okay to ask for help if you’re struggling. By supporting yourself, you’re better able to support your child.

We hope you have found the advice in this article helpful. At Hollywood Forever, we want to help you celebrate the life of your loved one and relish the memories they leave behind. Our full-service funeral home is located in the heart of Hollywood.

Please contact us today if you have any questions about the services we offer at Hollywood Forever.


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