How to help kids cope with grief and loss; Expert offers tips
Children might not express their grief in the same way that adults do. Check out some important ways to help children cope with grief and loss.
Children behave and process complicated emotions in a different way than adults. That doesn't imply, however, that the grieving isn't happening or that your child isn't being impacted by their feelings. Furthermore, kids can still experience grief. Children and teenagers use a number of techniques to communicate their grief. Many folks express their sadness verbally when they are depressed. However, depending on their ages, they might only sometimes or briefly display sadness. Children may express physical discomforts such as headaches or stomachaches or kids might exhibit worry or anguish about other difficulties like sports or school. You might not even be aware that a youngster is mourning when they lose a loved one. (Also read: Tips to build emotional resilience in children )
" The estimates of numbers of bereaved children and teens this past year are staggering, and children have been disproportionately affected. It is estimated for every adult death, 2 children and 4 grandchildren are bereaved. Grief coupled with loneliness that adolescents have felt can be a challenge. I have also seen novel ways to process grief including memorials in Minecraft, and amazing art both collective and through social media and individual. Remember there is no right way to journey through grief and no single right way to support a teen through it. Goals could include combating loneliness and building hope with clear, actionable pathways," says, Dr. Hina Talib, Pediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Specialist, in her Instagram post. She further shared tips to help children cope with grief and loss.
1. Tell the truth
Use concrete language. Share information in small amounts. Your child will ask you questions when they need to know more. It is okay to say, "I don't know". You can help them find the answer later.
2. Grief is unique
Grief is unique for each child. They might feel sad, angry, afraid, guilty, numb, or relieved, and might feel these emotions and others all at once or at different points in time after the death.
3. Grief is not a problem
Grief is not something to be fixed. It is important to welcome your child's grief and be patient with it. Grief does not follow a specific timeline and will continue to arise throughout your child's life.
4. Listen to your child
Meet them where they are and try to understand their reactions. Don't force their reactions to match your expectations of what grieving should look like.
5. Show your emotions
You can tell them how you are feeling, and show them healthy ways to cope with these emotions. Make sure to also leave room for their reactions, even when they are different from your own.
6. Honour your loved one
Discuss with your child and find ways to honour your loved one. The pandemic is preventing some rituals. You can describe what you might have done during a different time and explain what this means to you.