Every day, parents make decisions that are not necessarily popular with their children. Vaccinations, summer skill building camps, even chores are all part of a healthy childhood. Great good comes from dealing with something perceived as negative. Feelings of grief and other negative emotions are similar to this. You must deal with those feelings sooner or later in order to be in good health.
Talking to children about grief and loss is never fun, always intimidating and a necessary evil of good parenting. Parents, understandably, do not like to see their children upset. Here are some common challenges faced by parents of grieving children:
• Feeling like any words are inadequate to explaining the loss to a child
• Feeling like any words are inadequate to comforting the child after a loss
• Fear that the experience of loss will have a long-term negative impact on the child
• Fear of sharing too much information
• Finding ways to comfort a grieving child while you are also grieving
• Figuring out if/how much of your own emotions should be shown to your child
• Feeling judged by others about the way you’re handling your child’s grief.
While there is not one right response to any one of these challenges, some general guidelines can be helpful reference tools.
The Caring Café offers two Healing with Hope camps this summer. These children’s bereavement camps are intended to provide support through fun activities for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one. One is for bereaved children, ages 6-11and the other is for older children,ages 12-17. More information about Healing with Hope can be found here.