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.

Remember to...

  • 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
  • Hallucinations
  • General health and physical distress
  • Feeling angry or guilty
  • Depression
  • 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

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