While we try to protect our children from all the hurts and heartbreak that the world can bring their way, the truth is, it’s completely impossible. We can protect them from some of the hurts, but others are inevitable. Honestly, the way our children learn how to handle hurt and disappointment will continue to shape how they are as adults, and how they handle situations as adults.
I wish I could have protected my children from some things. I wish I could have kept them from knowing what death was until they were old enough to fully understand. One of the hardest lessons on grief I had to help my children through was the loss of their aunt, my sister in law. My daughter was very close to her, and the loss hit my daughter hard.
Some of the ways we helped her to cope, along with the rest of the family was attending a Grief Counseling program through a local church. Churches aren’t the only ones who provide these services, but it’s the option we chose for our family.
Another way we helped the kids to cope was to buy children’s books on grief, and when a loved one passes. She read and reread these books over and over, and even read them to her younger brother who was still very young at the time. This helped her understand on a child’s level how to process it.
We also left the lines of communication open for her to come to us at any time and express what she was feeling and thinking. While it was difficult for awhile, it helped her to get through the transition, and to understand loss in a healthy way.
Allowing them to express what they’re feeling is key. That includes their frustrations, hurts, and everything else. As an adult it can be difficult for us to process grief. As a child we are taught how to process it, and we take those lessons with us into our adult lives.
Communication is probably the most important factor there is. Allow your child the space and time to process through the different stages of grief, and through their emotions.
What are some other ways you’ve helped your child cope with grief? Have they worked for your family?
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