Protecting Your Children after a Bereavement: A Guide

The death of a loved one can be painful for everyone, and children, in particular, can struggle with managing their emotions surrounding grief. Children understand death differently to adults, as it is a complex topic to comprehend, and because of this, their reactions can seem unusual to adults. As parents, gaining a better understanding of how children grieve and what you can do to help them is not only crucial for the wellbeing of your children, but also for your own stress levels and peace of mind. If you’re struggling with knowing what to do, here is a short guide to protecting your children after a bereavement that you might find useful.

Explaining the circumstances

It can be difficult to convey the concept of death to children, as it is not something that comes easily to them to comprehend. Therefore, it is important to explain the meaning of death as honestly and accurately as possible to your children, to avoid any unnecessary confusion or upset. While there is no easy way to go about explaining this complex issue, there are some basic concepts that you can try to convey to make it easier for them, no matter their age.

For instance, children need to understand that death is final and irreversible, as otherwise, they might mistakenly believe that death is a reversible or temporary circumstance. You should also explain that it is perfectly natural and that death is just a fact of life that doesn’t need to be feared, as the process of losing someone can be scary and overwhelming for children.

Reducing the causes of stress and anxiety

The loss of a loved one and all of the processes that come alongside that can be very difficult for the whole family to process, especially children. Depending on their age, children will understand the traditions surrounding deaths and funerals to varying degrees, and it can be a source of stress for them to have to go through these processes. You can help reduce these sources of stress and anxiety by making these situations as straightforward for them as possible; for example, when it comes to laying your loved one to rest, it is helpful to explain the motivations and expectations behind a funeral. Additionally, seeking professional support, such as if you are contesting a will, is useful simplifying procedures and avoiding unnecessary stress for everyone.

Looking after their emotional wellbeing

Grieving is a painful experience for everyone, and there are a lot of heavy emotions that your children will have to process and adjust to. It can be hard for children to understand emotions such as grief and resentment, so providing them with a safe space where they feel able to express themselves and their feelings is vital for their emotional wellbeing. Make sure to check in with your children on a regular basis, but avoid forcing them to tell you how they are feeling as this will put too much pressure on the situation. Instead, just make it clear to them that, whenever they do feel able to verbalize their feelings, you will be there to support them.

1 comment

  1. This is very important and you hit on some very good points! We went through this when my daughter’s kids were young. As a matter of fact, Keira was four months old when Scott was murdered! They still have times when it is hard on them and our daughter! Today is their wedding anniversary! Pin worthy!


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