Help children grieve healthy. The National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC) https://childrengrieve.org is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the needs of children and teens who are grieving the death of someone who was very close to them. The NACG provides education and resources for anyone who supports a grieving child or teen.
Children often grieve differently than adults so here are some ways you can support a grieving child according to information from the NAGC.
1) Be honest with your child – Talk to your child about what happened in a simple, direct and age appropriate manner. Be honest and share clear, accurate information about what happened.
2) Listen- Listen to your child tell his or her story about what happened. Encourage them ask you questions and answer their questions as best as you can.
3) Acknowledge your child’s grief – recognize that your child is grieving. Try not to impose your grief on your child, but allow him or her to grieve in his or her own way. It is normal for children to feel an array of emotions, including sadness, anger, frustration and fear. It is also normal for children to move in and out of grief reactions, at times being very upset or getting angry easily and at other times acting as if nothing has happened.
4) Share – Tell your child about the times you were afraid, sad or angry. Tell them how you dealt with these situations and what you learned. Children love to hear stories about the adults in their lives and when those adults were children.
5) Maintain clear expectations – Keep rules and boundaries consistent. Children gain security when they know what is expected from them. Children will often use their pain as an excuse for inappropriate behavior. While you should always acknowledge the grief your child is experiencing, you should also teach them to be accountable for their choices, no matter how they feel.
6) Reassure your child – Remind your child that he or she is loved and that you are there for him or her. Following the death of a person in his or her life, a child’s sense of safety can be shaken. Children often fear that you or other people in their life might die.
7) Be patient – You and your child are grieving and the most intense parts of grief often take longer than we might want. Grief also changes us in many ways. So, be patient as you and your child experience your grief. Be patient with your child with repetition. A child often has to come back to the same details and questions.
My thanks to the NAGC for the above. Please visit their web site for more information about how to help grieving children and to find resources in your area that can also help