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Grief: How Can a Parent Help?

Overcoming Death: One Mother’s Story

Restoring the Teenage Soul

When Children Grieve

by Katrina Hayday Wester

It’s a fact of life that all living things die; however even for grown-ups it’s a difficult concept. When your child experiences a loss, there will be a lot of questions, however a few tips will help you help your children cope better in this difficult time.


Discussing your own personal experiences with death may be a good place for you to start talking to your child about their loss. They might be able to relate better if you discuss how you felt when your grandmother died when you were an adolescent or how you lost a friend in a car accident.


When you discuss death, it’s an opportunity to discuss life. A simple way you can introduce the circle of life to your child is by visiting elderly relatives. He will see that aging is a natural process. Children will ask questions and if they feel that they can talk freely about it they will cope better when confronted with the loss of a loved one.


It’s natural to want to shield your child from your own grief, but by being open, you allow children to see you grieve and understand that it’s a natural process in healing. If you hide from your child when you feel sad, he will think that it’s not okay to cry – which is the opposite of what you want him to know.


When a child experiences the death of a loved one, the reaction is often to ask a lot of questions. Children will often ask if you will always be around and you need to tell them honestly that you will not; however you’ll want to reassure them that they will be cared for. Try to avoid relating death to “going away” or “going to sleep” that often introduces additional anxiety.


Believing in something helps children cope. If you are religious, you can look to your church, synagogue, mosque, etc. If you are not religious, you can discuss the greater meaning of life with your child. By helping to understand their part in the world they will continue to have hope for the future.

Source: www.KidHealth.org


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