When a parent passes, it takes time to accept it and maintain a special place for them in your heart and mind. This process is not always easy to explain to a child, especially if they are preparing for their first funeral. If a child you know has experienced the loss of a parent, being there for them and listening are two of the best things you can do. Below are a few more ways to support a grieving child.
5 Tips for Helping a Child Cope With the Loss of a Parent
Give your undivided attention to the grieving child.Many children want to talk about their parent or share the story how they found out about the person’s passing. Talking about the loss is an essential part of the healing process because it prevents the child from internalizing the grief and expressing it in unhealthy or destructive ways. Let the child know talking about the loss is a great thing and that you will always listen.
2. Offer Plenty of Hugs
Provide the child with plenty of hugs. Losing a parent means fewer hugs, pats on the back, and related behavior from a loving and trusted adult, so show affection when appropriate. Allow the child to hug you, hold your hand, or simply sit by you for as long as they want.
3. Maintain as Much of a Routine Possible
Keep a normal schedule as much as you can. This can be extremely difficult when you are coping with your own grief or planning a funeral; however, a normal schedule provides the child with the structure they desperately need during this time of upheaval and intense sadness. Normal schooling, homework sessions, and activities help the child feel grounded.
4. Let the Child Know Their Feelings Are Normal
Assure the child that his or her feelings and concerns are completely normal. Many children ask questions about death following the loss of a parent or wonder if they will become ill. They may also wonder who will be responsible for them or feel mad about the parent “leaving” them. Help the child deal with these overwhelming emotions by listening, providing reassurance whenever it is possible, and seeking professional counseling if you think would help.
5. Encourage Creative Outlets
Encourage the young one to express grief in creative, healthy ways. It is not uncommon for children who have lost parents to act out because no one has helped them cope with their grief, anger, and sadness. Help the child express confusion or sadness with painting, drawing, writing, photo essays, or any other creative outlet.
Losing a loved one is difficult at any age. Silver Creek Mortuary, Tse Bonito, NM, is here to help you and your family say goodbye to a loved one in a beautifully personal way. The funeral home provides a full suite of planning options as well as cremation services so your loved one’s wishes are carried out. Call (505) 371-3690 to discuss funeral planning services or visit the website for more information.