Grief for children is different from grief for an adult. How can we help a child who feels that they have lost something?
1) Pay attention to the changes in their behavior, this is the way we can see that they need help.
2) Talk to them...don’t ignore the change in their behavior, think that they will come to you when they are ready, or hope it will go away with time. Don’t force a discussion but look for the right time to place to share. Try sharing how you are feeling and then ask them how they are feeling. When you talk, share your truths and thoughts but talk to them eye to eye and let them know you are listening.
3) Listen for false assumptions (believing that are responsible, they could prevent it, that somehow the loss had something to do with them doing something wrong). Help them understand that they had no control over the loss.
4) Assure them that you want to help them process the loss and that you care about their feelings and thoughts and want to understand them.
5) Offer creative ways to express their loss (writing a letter, drawing a picture, doing a collage, etc.
When we talk about mourning, we are really talking about the process that we go through to deal with losing something or someone. To help a child grieving through a loss, it is important to get help for our own state of being as an adult in their life.
Seek help if you are struggling with a loss. It is good to talk it out and let a professional help you process your feelings and journey with you to help you and your family find your “new” normal.
How are you processing your grief? How are you walking with your child to help him/her find their way during their darkest times?