Helping Grieving Children
It's hard to put the words "children" and "grief" into the same sentence, as we like to think of the childhood years as carefree and wondrous. Yet, countless numbers of children will become bereaved each year and they'll look to the adults in their lives to help them through.
No matter how prepared parents and caregivers are to raise health, happy kids, they are not often equipped to help them deal with grief. It's something we don't like to think about, nor is it something we see ourselves as having to do. When the unthinkable happens, however, it is good to have some concrete advice about how to best help kids.
Tips to Help:
1. Use the words death, dying, dead. This may seem harsh, but it is very necessary to help kids delineate that death is a very different state than any other.
2. Avoid euphemisms: She's sleeping (may induce sleep difficulties and fears), he went on a long trip (when is he coming back?), we "lost" grandpa (when will we find him again?), grandma's gone away for awhile, etc.
3. Explain to children that doctor's almost always can help us feel better (sore throats, headaches, stomachaces, illnesses), but sometimes a body is so, so, so sick, that the doctor's cannot help. In those cases, the doctors have good medicine to help our loved one be comfortable and out of pain, but they cannot keep our loved person alive.
4. If a child is to attend a wake or funeral for the first time, prepare them for what they will see, hear, experience. Explain what a casket is, that the deceased will no longer be able to talk, breathe, eat or feel pain. That there may be many emotions and tears. It is okay when people cry because they are sad. They miss the loved one. Crying gets the sad out.
Sudden Death/Terminal Illness/Suicide
The death of loved one may be expected (due to a terminal illness) or unexpected (due to a sudden death, accident or suicide). Helping to explain death to children, as well as deal with the circumstances surrounding the death can be very challenging for parents.
Listen to Learn More
I was recently interviewed by Marianne Russo on The Coffee Klatch and we discussed all of the above (as well as helping kids deal with divorce and relocation).
You can hear this podcast online or download it to listen to on your iPod or MP3 player. It's free.
Our Signature Product to Help Grieving Children
Kidlutions has helped thousands of greiving children through the years. With experience as a hospice social worker, as a school-based therapist and a private practice clinician, I have helped kids heal from losses due to terminal illness, suicide, sudden accidents, unexpected deaths and murder.
Our signature workbook, "How Long Does the Sad Last" is based upon 25 years of work in the field and inlcudes:
~ 50 pages of open-ended activities and space where kids can doodle, draw and express their grief.
~ A Caregiver's Guide to assist parents and caregivers in helping their children in significant and meaningful ways.
~ Directions to make your own Kidlutions Care Kit, with explanations about how to use common household items to help kids heal.
The workbook is availble for instant download. No waiting for shipping time. Help can be in the hands of a parent or caregiver whenever they need it.
Thank you, for making a difference in the life of a grieving child.