Apr 3, 2022

Loss of a Grandparent - Exploring Grief with Your Children

After losing a loved one, it’s natural to want to shield your children from pain. It gets complicated when it comes time to break the sad news, especially if they were close to that person. For example, it can be hard to tell young children about the death of their grandparent, considering their role in child development and their unique relationship. You, as the parent, still have the burden to help your kids cope with the loss even as you grieve. Below is a guideline on how to help your child cope with the loss:

Be Honest About Death

Breaking the news is one of the most challenging things in this process, but there will never be a perfect time to tell them. It would not be right if they learned about the loss unexpectedly from another source. Find a time and space where they will be free to express themselves however they need. 

A public space is not the ideal place to do it. Be clear about death and make them understand that it’s a permanent happening. Avoid statements like ‘grandma went to sleep” or “grandpa is resting” as such words might ignite some hope that they might wake up someday. 

Address Your Child’s Feelings

Everyone handles loss differently, and this also applies to your children. Once you tell them, you should expect your children to ask for details about how the death occurred. It could have resulted from an accident, old age, or a long-term illness. The cause of death might spark a feeling of fear, frustration, or sadness, leading them to act in unexpected ways at times. 

Allow them to voice their true feelings and share your emotions and experiences about loss. Doing so helps them understand that death is a normal process of life, which can help them heal and normalize what they’re experiencing. 

Maintain Regular Routines

It can be tricky sticking to a routine after the death of a loved one, but doing this helps distract your kids from overthinking the loss and gives them a sense of security. Ensure that they eat, play, clean, and study as scheduled. 

You may notice a few unexpected changes from grief, so you must be patient with them until they resume normalcy. Let their caregiver or teacher know about the current events to understand how best to support them in case of unusual behavior. 

Talk About the Funeral

Closure is critical, and the final funeral process is one of the surest ways to deal with grief finally. However, everyone handles such setups differently, and at times you may be forced to make the tough decision for them based on how you know them in handling such situations. Some people may be willing to attend the funeral, while others may not want to, but you should let them know what to expect. It all rolls down to how you prepare them. 

Do not force them to attend the funeral under any circumstance. Instead, you can give them the option of planting a tree, sharing stories, releasing balloons into the air, or doing things they enjoyed doing with their grandparents while alive. Give them alternatives that will bring closure to them as well.

You may have done everything to help your child grieve and heal, but therapy will be a good option if the grief persists for too long. If you feel that their distress has gone on for too long, find a therapist who will talk to them and manage the situation. Most importantly, as you deal with your children, ensure that you’re also mentally fit. 

About the Guest Author.

Veronica Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. Veronica frequently works with clients in the legal, financial, and assisted living industries.

No comments: