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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Dealing with Grief is Hard ..... Especially when you are a Child

Earlier this month, my younger sister , Erin passed away. It was very unexpected and took the entire family for a shock. While her own children were grown adults it did not hurt any less to loose their mom. There were other younger generations that looked up to this great lady as their "Aunt Erin". Sharing with them that she had passed was not easy to do. Thus, we looked for an easy way to share with them.

A guide that we found suggest that even infants and toddler can notice an absence in their life and feel a loss. Family members are often feeling grief and this grief can be sensed by the youngest. To help the youngest through this age spend a good amount of time holding and cuddling the child. In addition, it is best if you can keep the child on a regular schedule as much as possible since any interruption can upset the child more.

Death is a hard subject for many of us to understand. It can often be misunderstood and somehow get lost between fact and fantasy. It is important that we help children understand that it is not a punishment and the individual that passed did not always want to go but simply could not stay.  However, it is important to talk directly to the child in a language that they can understand when we explain to them about someone that has passed away.

My own nephew and grand-daughter who are in their pre-teen ages fear death. In fact many adults I know are not too sure about it either. Many times it is thought to occur to those who are old or have been sick for quite some time. This was not the case with my sister who was barely over the age of 40 and had no known medical issues. Allowing them to answer questions and answering them the best we can is what many say is the right thing to do. In fact, if and when possible allowing them to talk to a professional about the issue may work out well.

Many times teenagers can deal with subjects like adults. Anger and sadness may occur as they are trying to I.D. this stage in their life. Allowing them to vent is one of the best ways to help them after they experience a loss like this in their life. Being the individual that will listen may be a great gift for them at this time. Always remind them that they are normal and life is a puzzle that is difficult to understand.

Knowing these easy steps will help you talk to the child in your life about death:

  • Use language that they understand. Use the word "death" rather than "went to sleep" as it may confuse and may even scare them. 
  • Let children know it is a process of life when our bodies can go no longer 
  • always encourage questions and answer them the best you can 
  • Being honest can be a very comforting feeling 
  • offer an open ear for the child to vent and express their emotions
  • grief affects all children differently
  • children will often have fears it is best to spend some time talking to them and comforting your child 
  • allowing children to see you grieve can help them know it is o.k. 
  • know when to get professional help.
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