Helping Your Child Through Grief

By: Jared Curry
Monday, August 13, 2018

For adults and children alike, the grieving process can be long and difficult. If you’ve recently had to deal with a funeral home or cremation in Somerset, NJ, your child may be having a tough time. Here’s how you can help him cope with grief in a constructive way.  

Be Honest 

Kids are smarter than they look, so always tell the truth. Hiding information, be it about the cause of death, what happens after someone dies, or any other white lie, can build mistrust and prevent your kid from turning to you for support. However, keep in mind that your child’s age should inform how much information he can process at one time.  

Use Simple Language 

Kids can easily misunderstand when adults talk in abstract. For example, saying “she’s passed on” or “she’s no longer with us” rather than “she died” can confuse a kid. Instead, use concrete words to avoid confusion.  

Be There To Listen  

Kids often worry about different things around loss than adults. While you may be worrying about how to explain what cancer is to your child, he may be wondering how the deceased will be able to breathe in the box. Listen to your child’s questions, and answer them as best you can in simple language. Worry more about encouraging questions than having all the answers. Its much more important to cultivate a feeling of togetherness and support.  

Watch Closely  

Children don’t always use words to communicate their feelings, so your child might be expressing grief through behavior. Common reactions like denial, fighting, mood swings, trouble sleeping, or even physical complaints like headaches or tummy aches can be red flags to let you know something is going on inside.  

Express Your Own Emotions 

Your child will be more likely to express his emotions in a healthy way if he sees you doing it first. You don’t need to be strong or hide your emotions around your child. In fact, talking about your own feelings around the grief is a great way to encourage healing in both you and your child.  

Allow for Ceremony or Ritual 

Human beings gravitate towards ceremony or ritual in the face of the unknown; children even more so than adults. Allow your child to take part in a ritual or ceremony, be it collecting keepsakes, attending the memorial or funeral, saying a prayer, or lighting a candle. Ask your child how he would like to participate. However, if he doesn’t want to, don’t force it.  

Maintain a Routine 

Do your best to maintain your regular routine during a time of loss. This will help your child feel normal even in the face of all the unknown surrounding the death. School, activities, sports and even play dates offer a great way for kids to take a break from the grief.  

Going through loss is hard, even for adults. Don’t expect a child to be OK sooner rather than later, and let go of any preconceived notions of what grief looks like. If you have any more questions about grief and children, Plinton Curry Funeral Home can help. We offer Somerset, NJ funeral home and cremations services from 411 W Broad St Westfield, NJ 07090, and can offer extra support during your time of need. Please reach out to us at (908) 232-6869 to learn more.  

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