How to Support Your Grieving Child

How to Support Your Grieving Child

Grief at the death of someone dear is experienced differently by each child.

Children in the same family may have varying reactions, depending on factors such as age, maturity, and how well they deal with the concept of death.

When a child experiences death, it can be traumatic on many levels.

Children may react in a variety of ways which is why your approach to providing the right support for grief for your child is crucial.

An important way to support your grieving child is by encouraging them to communicate.

When they communicate with you, you learn more about how they are feeling about what or who they have lost.

This will further give you an insight into how to navigate helping them through this loss.

Validating their feelings is another way to support your grieving child.

Let them know it is okay to feel however they are feeling.

Give them room to fully express themselves because bottling up feelings can do a lot of damage.

Also, inspire your child to know that death doesn't mean the absolute end of someone or something.

Children can learn to honor the memory of whoever they have lost through various means or traditions.

This will allow the child to keep the deceased's memory alive within them.

Below are more details on how you can support your grieving child.

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Holly Bradbury, LPC

Holly Bradbury, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Janelle Wagenknecht, MA, LPCC, ADDC

Janelle Wagenknecht, MA, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado
(720) 710-0919
Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Amber Chambless, LPC

Amber Chambless, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Jasleen Karir, SWC

Jasleen Karir, SWC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121

Put Them at Ease and Encourage Them to Communicate 

Encourage your child to share their inner thoughts and emotions.

Children benefit from learning it's healthy to share their feelings.

Explain how you feel about certain things.

This facilitates the practice of sharing among children.

Many books are available for children that address the topic of death, and reading these books together may be a terrific way to start a dialogue with your kid.

Many kids have trouble finding words to describe how they feel; for them, numerous types of activities may be quite therapeutic.

For example, make suggestions like keeping a diary or making a painting to communicate emotions.

Show genuine interest in their feelings, empathize with them, and refrain from passing judgment while you listen and provide moral support.

Even if you can't fix everything, just being there will help a lot.

Validate Their Feelings

There is no "correct" way to mourn, so encourage them so that they may feel whatever they feel, whether it's sadness, anger, worry, grief, or anything else.

Let them know that their tears are healthy and normal.

Don't take it personally if they react emotionally.

Children often pick up habits from those around them.

They may believe they need to "be tough" if you tell them it is okay to mourn while attempting to keep your own feelings hidden.

What you should do is let them see that you're also grieving, so they understand that it is a normal reaction to loss.

The same holds true for them; the more they feel comfortable discussing it with you, the more they will want to open up about it.

Inspire Them to Keep the Memories of the Deceased Alive 

Some people believe they should avoid the topic of death when a child loses a loved one.

You shouldn't do that; rather, help the child learn how to keep the memory of the deceased alive within them.

Memories of happier times are a balm for the soul.

You could inspire the child to create artwork or write down memories of their loved ones.

Instill in your child the knowledge that the deceased will always be remembered and loved.

Additionally, kids may make their own memory books by collecting photos and other mementos.

Younger children can learn most about the deceased through their older relatives' stories and recollections.

Repeatedly mentioning the individual and stressing the affection that the dead had for the children is important.

With time, kids might realize that the person who passed away was crucial in shaping who they are now.

Maintain Routines 

Minimize the disruptions to your regular schedule as much as possible.

Children thrive on consistency, so if you need some time to yourself, get a trusted family or friend who can assist in maintaining your child's schedule.

Your child should know that life does carry on, even if it is necessary to mourn the loss of a loved one.

Children benefit from continuity, stability, and care.

Maintaining a consistent schedule can help ease the transitions your kid may be experiencing at home.

If at all feasible, stick to your regular job and school schedules.

As a result of their sensitivity to loss and disruptions in their routine, they may exhibit clinging behavior from time to time.

Hence, make an effort to notify them if there will be any deviations from the typical schedule.

Reassure Them 

Another way to support your grieving child is by reassuring them.

Sometimes, children may feel responsible for a death.

This happens when the person dies suddenly, especially if the child and the deceased had a form of tense relationship or if they had disagreements.

It's crucial to convince them that they had no control over this outcome and that their actions had no impact on it.

Also, pay attention to whether or not the child seems to be unhappy, anxious, or agitated.

Get the child to express how they feel by asking open-ended questions and really listening.

Explain to your kid that they will feel better in their own time following the death of the person.

There are times when some children may have problems sleeping because of their concerns or worries.

Children need to know that things will improve.

Spend more time caring for them.

Kids who are in need of extra aid might benefit from support groups and therapy.

Conclusion

Sometimes it may be quite challenging to know how to best aid and support a kid through this trying time.

You can't shield kids from heartbreak, but you can give them the support they need to feel safe and deal with it in the best manner they can.

Remember that how your child may or may not react to loss is influenced by the support for the grief they get.

You can support your grieving child by putting them at ease and encouraging them to communicate, validating their feelings, inspiring them to honor the memory of the deceased, maintaining routines, and reassuring them.

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July 14th, 2024

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