When a child loses a loved one, they will often go through the grieving process just the same as adults—but they might not know how to express their emotions in the same way. Whether it’s a goldfish, a longtime pet or their beloved grandma, your child will have to learn about grief sometime. Here’s how to reach out and help a grieving child in Chicago, IL.
Understanding a child’s grief
Your child might not realize that death is permanent, especially if they’re young. They might be under the impression that if they’re “good,” their loved one may come back and help them through life. While this is an incredibly sweet line of thinking, don’t encourage it—but don’t be surprised if they talk about how Grandpa will play with their Legos next week. They will probably have a lot of questions as they mature, and that’s okay, but overall, it can be an extra difficult time for equally grieving parents. If one of you can “take over” while the other parent mourns their closer loved one, so much the better.
How to talk about death with children
Try not to use euphemisms like “went to sleep” or “went to heaven to be with God.” These are frightening ways to describe death to children, especially the former. You can certainly introduce the concept of death to your child along with religious beliefs, but it’s very important that they understand the person you’re talking about will no longer be roaming on earth. As a side note, this is why pets can be both a blessing and a curse for parents of young children: they force you to talk about death and dying, but if you’re as attached as your kids are, it can be incredibly difficult.
Should my child attend the funeral?
Attending a funeral is a very personal decision. Some people want their kids there, especially if they’re babies who are too young to understand what’s going on. Others are concerned that their fidgety toddlers will disrupt the proceedings. This is a good time to employ the Ring Theory of grief: if the loss is extremely personal to you, go ahead and bring your kids to help your own comfort. But if you’re celebrating Great Aunt Edna’s life, and you only saw her a few times in your life, it’s probably best to leave the little ones at home.
Don’t neglect your own grief
Sometimes parents who are mourning a loss think they have to put on a happy front for their children, 100 percent of the time. That’s simply not the case. Kids pick up on moods and understand when you’re upset. It’s completely okay to say to older children, “I’m having a hard time because I’m sad about Grandma.” While toddlers might not understand, the same applies. Try to leave them with a trusted caretaker when you can so you can deal with your own pain.
Reaching out and helping grieving children in Chicago, IL is hard. Call Marik-Baken Funeral Services Ltd. to help ease your own process.
Categorised in: Grief
This post was written by Writer