Grief is a very complex emotional process. As an adult going through the pain of loss and bereavement, it’s important to remember that your children are likely going to be going through similar emotional journeys. For children, this may be their first real experience of loss, and their feelings are going to be complicated. While grief is a very personal process that everyone addresses in their own way, there are ways that you can help your child cope more healthily from bereavement. Here are the best steps that you can take when helping your child deal the difficult process of bereavement.
Having the right space
It’s essential that people are given the right amount of space to work their way through their feelings of loss. You are going to want your child to work through their complex feelings so that they are better able to process them productively. Having no room to grieve can lead to negative outcomes that can manifest both mentally and physically.
Children need to understand that their feelings are completely normal, and that they are allowed to feel anger, sadness, and even guilt over the loss of a loved one. Never minimise their emotions because of their age. Going through a bereavement means feeling many new emotions, and having the space to deal with those is vital.
Look after yourself
It’s easy to get focused on the wellbeing of your children when there has been a loss in the family. It’s important that you also manage your own bereavement healthily and productively. The more healthily you address your own grief, the more that you will be able to help your children. One way to do this is by being proactive in settling the deceased’s estate. Make sure that you know what’s happening with the will, and be prepared for disputes. It’s a good idea to retain the services of will dispute solicitors in case of any unexpected will rulings.
If you were expecting to be left something in a will, it can only add to your feelings of loss when you find that you have been misled. The more active you can be in the early months after losing a loved one, the more your child will be able to follow your example in a healthy way.
Find healthy coping strategies
It’s a useful idea to provide your child with outlets for their emotions. There are many ways to let your child focus on releasing their negative thoughts. Consider the following options:
It could be that you are not ready or even able to help your child through grief. For that reason it may be worth looking at local grief counsellors who have specialised in child psychology. Children may find it easier to talk to a stranger about their emotions. This can be very good for their long-term mental health, and can also take some of the pressure off your shoulders.
Everyone will go through bereavement in their lives. Managing the stages of grief in a healthy way is essential, and helping your children process those big feelings can take time and patience. Never rush the process, and focus on doing what you need to help your child through this most difficult of times.