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Advice to help children with the loss of a parent

Requested in Parenting & Family by SunChaser
edited by 2cent

1 Rec

When one parent passes away leaving children behind it can mirror to younger children that if the one parent can pass away then the other will as well so it is important for the remaining parent to sit down with their children and tell them that they are not going anywhere and that they will be there for them.  Of course in reality no one knows when they will pass away, but by saying this to especially young children it gives them a sense of security and peace.  Talking often helps and smaller children are more resilient and even though the remaining parent is almost crippled from grief themselves they will have no choice, but to keep busy and trying to set as close as a routine in their lives as they had before and to do things together such as walks in the park, going to the zoo, the movies, etc.  If young children ask questions as to where their decease parent is it is up to the remaining spouse's religious beliefs, but the most popular answer is, 'God need mom/dad and one day we will see him/her, but, he/she is still with us in spirit and is watching over us.'  The innocence of these children can compute in their minds with such a quote and it takes away the fear they feel of being totally abandoned.  

When dealing with teens after a parent has passed away is far more complex.  The teen knows about death to some degree, but never entertained the idea it would happen in their own family so the shock is incredible.  Both male/females must be watched carefully for signs of depression, retreating to their rooms, not eating well, abandoning friends, perhaps not attending school or keeping to themselves in school.  It is important that the remaining parent sit down and not talk down to the teen, but tell them the truth about why the death of the deceased parent occurred and discuss a belief system you may have and ask what they feel.  Communication skills is a must during this time.  If the teen still shows signs of depression, anger, not listening to the parent left behind then it's time for grief therapy and this can be done one-on-one with just the teen or in a group of teens who have had a parent pass or, the remaining spouse and the teen can join a grief session together.
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