It is no secret that grief is one of the most challenging obstacles a person can face. It is completely normal that you would want to guard your child’s heart from the pain and heartbreak it brings. Even though your intentions are out of love, it can be harmful acting as if the event never happened or thinking that your child will be unaffected.
It is important to acknowledge that your child is a person like you or me. They experience emotions such as sadness, confusion, and denial. Validating these emotions is a healthy way to help your child cope with a life-changing event. A couple ways you can do this is by being honest with your child, being a safe place for them to ask questions, and helping them keep to normal routines.
Being honest with your child is an important step to their grieving process. There are moments where you might think telling a lie would protect them, but the truth will be revealed to them at some point. You want the truth of the situation to be given to them by someone that they love and trust. Depending on the age of your child, not all details need to be revealed at the time of the event. A common Rule of thumb: if they are asking the question, then they are old enough to know the answer. Also, don’t be afraid to express your emotions in front of your child. It validates to them that being sad or upset is okay and it gives them permission to grieve as well.
Open to Questions
Depending on the age of your child it is common that they will have questions concerning the situation. This might be difficult for you because in certain moments it will be hard for you to discuss what happened. However, you being a safe place for them can make a huge difference in their healing. Reassuring your child’s safety lets them know that they will be okay and so will the people they care about. Don’t be afraid to initiate conversation because your child might not know how to bring up the topic. On the other hand, don’t force a conversation that your child doesn’t want to have. And make an effort to approach these conversations and questions with empathy and age appropriate levels that are right for your unique child.
Stick to Routines
After experiencing a traumatic event, it can be easy to disregard the routines that were once a part of your daily life. This could be making your bed, going to the gym, or making dinner for your family. It can be difficult to do these things when every part of you is fighting against them. Keeping a routine during your grieving process can help your child feel a sense of normalcy and structure even when their lives feel in a million pieces. For example, making sure your child is still involved in their after school activities.
Most importantly, be kind and patient with yourself. Daily routines will not immediately fall back into place, but structure can bring a little more stability in the midst of heartbreak.
If you or your child is grieving, we would love to walk alongside you as you heal and start to understand a life without the person or thing you have lost. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or learn more click here to learn more about grief counseling. We look forward to hearing from you soon!