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Helping a Child with the Loss of a Parent April 11, 2024

adult comforting a grieving child

One of the most difficult and heart-wrenching tasks an adult can do is help a child through the loss of a parent.

There are a lot of variables to consider. You should consider their age and their level of maturity. One also has to factor in how the parent passed and your relationship with the child. While there may be no precise, step-by-step guide for all children, there are some aspects to factor in.

Try to Maintain a Sense of Normalcy

It is very likely the child will be paying close attention to how the adults are acting around them. Keep this in mind and try to keep things normal. Try to maintain a normal schedule for sleeping and eating. Familiar circumstances can help reduce fear and angst.

Assure They Are Cared for

Make sure all children are cared for and paid attention to. Children can get lost in a crowd of grieving adults and may feel isolated or even ignored. Ensure children have something to do and someone to be with. Like adults, children grieve in their own way. Having someone paying attention to them can be comforting.

Use Simple Language

Listen to their questions and concerns and respond honestly and with simple, easy-to-understand language. Don’t feel compelled to over-explain, but don’t avoid difficult questions either. If they choose, facilitate conversations about their deceased parent.

Give Them a Task or Tasks

Children may feel helpless immediately following the death of a parent. Giving them a simple job or responsibilities can help give them a sense of duty.

Allow Access to Familiar Items

Family photographs and memorabilia can provide comfort to a grieving child. It can also be a spark to begin a conversation.

Discuss Remembrance Rituals

There may be ways a child would like to remember their lost parent. It may be through watching a favorite movie, a visit to an ice cream shop, or going out for pizza. This can help them understand there are positive ways to remember their loved one without overwhelming sadness.

Watch for Warning Signs

Monitor the behavior of the child to ensure they are processing their grief. Warning signs can include uncharacteristic behavior, poor performance in school, a change in eating or sleeping habits, and inconsolable weeping. If a child becomes aggressive or withdraws socially, you may want to seek help from a counselor.

Prepare for Difficult Questions

It can help if you prepare for some difficult questions. Children may ask if they are to blame or if they too will die. They may ask where their parent went or when they will see them again. Keep answers in accordance with the family’s spiritual beliefs.

We Are Here to Help

It can be incredibly tough when a child loses a parent. It is also an important time to demonstrate the power of family, friends, and sharing grief.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we’ve been honored to serve grieving families in the Greater Cincinnati, OH, area for generations. In your time of need, know that we are here to help at Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory.

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