Tips for Parents
- Talk to your child and listen to what they have to say.
- Answer their questions openly and honestly.
- Use terms like dead and died; stay away from such terms as "gone to heaven", "is asleep", and "passed away". These terms can be confusing and can lead to other problems. (i.e. a child that is told that his loved one "went to sleep" might be afraid to go to bed)
- Explain to them that everybody grieves differently and it is ok to feel what they feel even if it isn't the way everybody else feels.
- Some of the common feelings children will feel are sad, angry, happy, guilty, lonely, numb, abandoned, and scared.
- Explain it is ok to cry or laugh when they feel like it.
- Explain it is ok to be happy in life again even with the death of a loved one.
- Commemorate special dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or holidays that are important to the child.
- Not give the child the traditional parenting role (activities include shoveling, mowing, cooking)
- Listen to your child when he/she is ready to talk
- Allow child to have memories, pictures, and keepsakes of the loved one
- Maintain usual routines at home
- Allow yourself to grieve. Children watch how their parents are mourning. It's ok to express your own sadness.
These are problems that a bereaved adolescence/child may experience:
- Disturbed Sleeping
- General health and physical distress
- Feeling angry or guilty
- Denial, shock, or panic
- Difficulties at school
- Not feeling connected with friends
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of concentration
- Regressive behaviors
- Separation anxiety
- Exaggerated fears
How you can help your child
- Continue rituals and ceremonies
- Talk and Listen
- Address feelings of guilt
- Model behavior
- Engage in sports and activities
- Drawing and writing
- Focus on the good times
- Seek help