Sadly, some children have to cope with a member of their family passing away. It’s very hard as an adult to deal with something like this, but as a child, who may not understand death, it can be nearly impossible.
As someone close to a child in this situation, you will want to try to help as much as possible, whilst dealing with your own grief, and so we wanted to try to give you a few words of guidance to help you and your loved ones through such a difficult time.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it
We can often feel uncomfortable talking about death, we don’t want to say the wrong thing or offend people and so we often avoid it altogether. But for child, like adults, talking about death and their loved one can really help. Spend time talking about their memories, their favorite times together, what the person was like. Let them know that just because they aren’t there anymore, they won’t be forgotten.
Try to answer questions honestly
Often children have never experienced death before and so won’t know how to deal with it. They won’t know the correct language to use, the appropriate and inappropriate things to say, the questions they can and can’t ask. If they ask you a question, try to answer it honestly, no matter how uncomfortable you might feel. It will help their grieving process if they try to understand what has happened.
Don’t be alarmed if they don’t seem to take it all in
It can take a while for a child to understand the finality of death, and even when they have, their moods and attitudes will flit from upset and needing comfort, to playing with their toys as if nothing has happened. Try not to see this as them not caring, grief can take time for a child to show and so be patient and let them take the lead. Be there when they need comfort.
Ask for help
It’s likely that you are dealing with grief yourself and so, on days when it’s just too much for you to handle, ask for help. Friends and family will be only too happy to help you, just ask. They can take the child out for a couple of hours to give you time to grieve, meaning that you can be stronger for the child when they return.
If your child needs some help dealing with a bereavement that has affected their behavior, contact us at Niche Etiquette Children; we can help with a full range of behavioral issue whilst understanding the route cause of these.