It has never been easy for anybody to accept the death of a loved one. The period of mourning for those who were left behind has no boundaries. There is no definite time as to how long the healing process would last. And while acceptance may eventually come later, coping with such a loss is an entirely different story, especially when children are among those who are left behind.
When death happens in the family, children lose a figure on which their sense of security is anchored. The absence of such significant people in their lives may make them feel lost and threatened, so how would one prepare a child if it’s the parent who meets an untimely death?
The following steps are encouraged to assist children to cope with the loss of a parent or a loved one:
1. Allow them to grieve. Allowing the child to cry is a helpful way to express his or her emotions and to vent out any feeling she is harboring inside.
Grieving may come in different forms. While crying is the most common, it may also be expressed through a shift in the child’s behavior.
2. Encourage them to talk about their thoughts and feelings. The closer the child was to the deceased, the more difficult the healing process will be and the longer it may take. A close family member should reach out to the child and encourage conversation, which could help release melancholic emotions.
3. Use stories and examples to explain the concept of death to them and end it on a hopeful note. Stories may be used to explain the experience to a child. This will aid her in understanding that others, too, experience loss but are able to live through the pain or hurt it might have caused them.
4. Help them find ways on how to channel their emotions and thoughts positively. Be observant and find out what the child’s interests are. Use this information to help the child channel her unpleasant experience and get her focus on things that bring her comfort and tranquility.
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