Grief is a natural response to the loss of a loved one and a necessary part of the healing process. For a child, however, it is a new and confusing emotion. In addition to the pain they feel, they are also faced with big questions regarding life and death. The staff from Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home in East Haven, CT, which specializes in planning reverent memorial services, often works with families who are in the midst of coping with their grief.
Read on below for their tips on helping children manage this difficult and unfamiliar emotion.
Keep the Line of Communication Open
Children tend to have many questions following the death of a loved one, especially if the child is younger, or dealing with death for the first time. It is important to answer these questions as best you can, and admit if you do not know something. Let them know their feelings are valid and encourage them to share their thoughts and emotions during this time.
Remain Patient & Understanding
Children’s grief can manifest in strange ways, including behavior that is out of character. While you want to discourage destructive or harmful behaviors, try to remain patient during this time. Many children act out because they cannot understand or express their pain. Rather than punishing or scolding children, encourage them to discuss their feelings. This will help teach them valuable coping skills, and how to share their feelings in a constructive way.
Include Children in Important Ceremonies
Encouraging your child to attend the funeral and memorial services can guide them through the last stage of grief. These services help children to understand death as a part of life and may lessen their fears. Attending the service also affords your child a final chance to say goodbye and gain some closure. Older children and teens may even welcome the opportunity to participate in planning or speaking during the memorial service.
For more information about helping children cope with grief, visit the Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home website. If you are planning a memorial service and need information regarding traditional burials, graveside services, or cremations, call the funeral home at (203) 467-2789.