Even grownups struggle with dealing with the loss of a loved one. So, imagine how overwhelming it can be for children who might not even fully grasp the concept of death. Cremation, funeral homes, all these can seem very confusing to them. And often, as parents or guardians, you don’t know what to do.
While running our Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Racine Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, we came across and helped many grieving children. So, we can offer a few tips on how you can deal with this challenge. Read on to find out how you can help your children deal with grief and loss.
Understanding Children’s Grieving Process
Children don’t comprehend death as adults do. But they do have their ideas about it. Even funeral homes and cremation are things they aren’t unfamiliar with. So, when you approach a child about the death of a loved one and its subsequent events, you need to communicate at their level.
You should also understand that children express their grief differently than adults. And it can vary wildly between individual children.
For instance, a kid might be crying about losing a loved one. And the next minute you see them playing or busy with some activity. That necessarily doesn’t mean he has finished grieving. Maybe he’s just keeping himself occupied to forget the pain.
When trying to help your child cope with grief, understand your limitations. For instance, you can’t save them from the pain of losing a relative or a grandparent. Because death is a reality, and there’s no point in trying to save someone from reality. What you can do is train them to stay strong during times of loss, grief, and sadness.
Tips To Help Your Children Deal With Grief And Loss
Funeral homes and cremation services can be too saddening for kids. So, don’t force them to go with you if they are reluctant. Plus, children might act unpredictably in those situations.
However, if your child shows interest in the ceremonies, you can always bring them. It can make the transition from life to death more understandable for them. Besides that, here are a few more tips-
Talking To Your Child
The best way to help your child is by talking to them. However, you have to consider the age and maturity level of the kid. For instance, some children will be unable to bear that the deceased’s body is turned to ashes during cremation. So, leave out such information they might not be ready for yet.
You should also encourage the child to talk about how they feel about the loss. Obviously, they wouldn’t be that good with words. So, telling stories and reading helpful children’s books on death can be a way to communicate. You can also help them engage in activities like making a scrapbook on the deceased or viewing old albums.
Don’t Use Lies
Although your child might not be prepared to grasp the full extent of the situation, you can’t use lies to help them. This will only complicate things as you go further. You can choose to hold off on some of the details. But the reality of death is that the person is never coming back again. And you can’t tell your children otherwise.
Some parents mistakenly tell kids that the person has gone away for a while and will return after some time. This type of false promise will prevent your child from effectively dealing with the situation. Plus, it will hamper the development of skills to cope with grief and loss.
Funeral Homes And Cremation Services
As mentioned at the beginning of this part, it is not a good idea to drag a child to a funeral service. However, all children are different, and it might be helpful to observe the transition ceremony for some kids. Seeing the deceased person being laid in their grave can also help them gain some closure.
That said, children are unpredictable. Funerals are sad events where people are sad, crying, and wearing black. This overly gloomy environment can sometimes add to the burden the child’s already feeling. And we have often seen parents at funeral homes in Racine having difficulty managing their kids.
How To Act In Front Of The Child
Children will imitate their parents in everything. So, if your demonstration of grief is too strong, the child will think that is how you deal with the situation. As a result, they won’t learn to adjust to a new reality and instead react explosively to it. This can be unhealthy for their future.
Of course, some sadness or crying is natural, and you can show it. This can help your child to comprehend the loss in their own way without getting overwhelmed about it. If you can’t control yourself, it is best to put the child in the care of friends or relatives for a few days. That way, you can find the time to pull yourself together, and the child will also have some distractions.
Death Of A Parent Or Grandparent
Losing a parent or grandparent is much different than other deaths. It can shake the child’s whole world. When a grandparent dies, children often worry about whether their dad or mom will be next. In this case, it is essential to assure the child that something like that is not likely to happen.
When a child’s grieving the death of a parent, they will worry about how their lives will be from now on. Or they might think they are going to lose the remaining parent soon. During this time, the child’s caretakers should assure them that they are still loved and that you are always there for them.
Seeking Professional Help
It is recommended that your kid talks to a child specialist after notable deaths. Such as losing a sibling, parent, or close friend. However, some children suffer from adjustment disorders and might never fully recover from the trauma of losing a loved one.
You can observe the child’s behavior to detect symptoms of the disorder. Most often, the child will be usually sad and upset even when the average grieving period has passed. Plus, you will notice that they are still reminiscing about the death, which interferes with their daily activities.
Strouf has been running Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine Funeral Homes, and Cremation Services for quite a while. Within this time, we have observed children having difficulty dealing with deaths. However, proper conversation and being straightforward with the child always yield the best results.
You can check our blog for more helpful content on dealing with losses and funeral services.