How to Support a Grieving Child

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Grieving Kid Sitting on Swing

Losing someone can take a toll on the well-being of a person, especially a child. The death of someone close to a child can have a lifelong effect on them. It can also cause a range of long- and short-term reactions. At some point in a child’s life, they will experience losing someone close to them. One in every 20 children in the country experience the death of one of their parents by the time they reach 16 years old. Despite the high occurrence of deprivation among children, most pediatricians find it uncomfortable talking to them about grief.

Grief in children

Bereavement, at some point, is a common experience that everyone goes through. Although it is universal by nature, it should not minimize the impact that it brings to a child. Pediatricians and other adults often hesitate to ask children about the recent death, fearing that they might make them upset. Because of this, children do not have any way to talk about their feelings, thus causing their loss to linger.

Although questions about death often lead to sadness, remember that death itself is the cause of the distress, and not the questions. Hence, inviting children to express what they feel gives them an avenue to release their emotions. Purposely preventing them from expressing their feelings will create more problems in the future. Children may think that their opinions are trivial and are not that important at all.

Initiating the conversation

Woman hugging a child

Childhood bereavement is a substantial social concern that can lead to serious long-term outcomes if not addressed. That is why it is crucial to let them know that you are there to support them, especially with what they are going through. Do not be afraid to show your emotions. Feel free to express your concerns. It is completely acceptable to tear up or even tell them how sorry you are that they have lost someone dear to them. Although you may be busy choosing the right place of burial with good cemetery planning and design, it is crucial that you spend time with them to let them know how you feel.

Children can sense when adults are honest with them. Try your best to be genuine with what you feel. Do not tell your child that you will miss your loved one. Instead, let them know that you feel sorry for their loss and that you appreciate that the person was important to them. Give them time to talk. Let them express everything that they feel. Your presence is more than enough for the child to express their feelings. Also, use open-ended questions when talking to them. Doing so will give them the chance to open up and express their emotions.

Death is never easy for anyone. Therefore, you must be there with your child as they go through the process of grieving and moving on from it. It is essential to use the word “died” so that they will not misinterpret the situation. Using euphemisms, such as telling them that the person who has died is in an eternal sleep, might make your child afraid of sleeping by themselves.

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