When people die, everyone close to them can experience the feelings of grief and loss. However, the level of emotions may vary among individuals. After all, grief is a personal journey. What many don’t know is how it affects children.
It turns out that children also undergo the different stages of grief. They may also exhibit negative behaviors, such as difficulty focusing in class, less participation in school activities, increased absenteeism, and a decline in work quality. Some of them may experience anxiety or guilt.
Adults, especially parents, have the duty to help their children cope with their negative emotions. Here are some tips on how to do it:
1. Get professional help
Grief is a powerful and gripping emotion. It can also be complex and not easily understandable. Hospice of the Calumet Area explains that it can benefit the parents if they get the help of grief support services in Indiana when necessary. These include when parents cannot properly explain the situation to the children or the kids are showing signs of mental issues such as depression.
2. Be present
Some children become anxious. This feeling may be due to the idea that they may also lose their other loved ones soon. While no one can guarantee life’s end, being present can give them assurance and comfort.
3. Explain the situation as simply as you can
Many parents tend to underestimate a child’s level of understanding. The kids are observant; they know when something is going on. The problem with not being open is they may become confused about the situation. They can also develop unrealistic ideas about death, such as it may only be temporary and that their loved ones are going to come back.
Kids also deserve honesty, but it’s equally important to know how to say it. The Center for Loss and Transition director Dr. Alan Wolfelt recommends using the right language, according to the age, condition, and level of understanding of the child.
There’s no shortcut to the grieving process. The duration can also vary depending on many factors. The good news is that children can also learn to cope as long as they receive the right support from the adults around them.