Grief resources are among the cremation services offered in Tallahassee, FL. But even among professionals who are trained in grief counseling, little is said about the difficulties that parents face when they are grieving the loss of a loved one. Parents often try to shield their children from grief, because they are trying to protect them from the realities of life, which will come along all too soon.
However, what is best for the emotional health of both parents and children is to grieve together and for parents to help children work through the process of grief.
Death can be confusing, sad, and scary for children. Whether they’ve lost a grandparent or their favorite aunt or uncle, a child’s world gets shaken mightily when someone they’ve been close to, perhaps from their earliest days of life, and spent a lot of time with suddenly disappears. If that disappearance is not addressed or explained, then it has a huge emotional impact on the child.
They may start throwing a fit every time a parent leaves the room or leaves the house. They may start having nightmares. They might become excessively withdrawn or clingy. All of these are manifestations of fear and uncertainty.
Additionally, even though children may not quite grasp the concept of death, they are acutely attuned to the emotional atmosphere around them. Parents who are grieving may be depressed or irritable or crying a lot. When there’s no explanation of this behavior for the children, they may internalize this as the result of something they’ve done wrong.
It’s important for parents and children to be on the same page with death, with grief, and with sadness. Communication is the key to help everyone to move forward with good emotional health, without a lot of unnecessary baggage because no one talked about anything.
While communication with very young children may not be in the form of a lot of words and lengthy explanations, there is much that parents can do to soothe and comfort them. Part of this involves spend a lot of time hugging, holding, and nurturing very young children. Parents can say things like, “Daddy’s sad, but Daddy loves you,” or “Mommy’s upset, but she’s not upset with you.” By combining touch with soft, reassuring voices that soothe the child’s fears, a lot of the disruptive behavior as a response to the emotional charge in the home will be alleviated over time.
For children between the ages of five and eighteen, the death of a loved one presents an opportunity to explain what death is, that being sad or sorry about the person being gone is okay, and to give children a chance to talk about their feelings.
Younger children may want to talk a lot about the loved one who died and they may ask a lot of questions about where they’ve gone, what’s going to happen to them, and if they’ll ever see them again. Keep your answers simple, but be careful not to use euphemisms when referring to death. Although the Bible refers to death as sleep (which is in reference to the resurrection when the dead will be made alive again), younger children will react to the word “sleep” in a very literal way, and may be afraid to ever go to sleep again.
Teenagers may talk a lot about the death or may not talk at all. But make sure to check in with them often and keep the lines of communication open about what you’re feeling and what they’re feeling, so that they know they have you to come to when they do need to talk.
For more information about cremation services offered in Tallahassee, FL, including grief resources, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lifesong Funerals & Cremations is here to assist you. You can visit our funeral home at 20 S. Duval St., Quincy, FL 32351, or you can call us today at (850) 627-1111.