Grief does not look at the age of the people it desires to visit in times of death of loved ones. As young as the age of 7, the grieving and healing process is the same. Parents understandably want to shield their children from the heartaches, trauma and stress death may cause them. This brings a lot of questions for the adults. The following guidelines can be of help:
Let them decide
Just because they are children and you are the parent or guardian doesn’t mean you automatically know how best to deal with their emotions. In times as these, us adults have to respect their need to decide on their own of whether or not to attend the funeral or memorial service. If they decide against it, at least let them write a letter, note or poem to process their feelings. Give them a free hand; they do feel when they’re ready to face reality. Don’t ask them to rationalize or reason with you; trust they’ll be alright on their own pace and time.
In times past, adults think it as an abomination of their kind to be seen weak and on their knees by the younger ones. This way of thinking, like theice and stone ages are done with (along with the people with those beliefs). The more open we are, the better can children process their feelings of grief. They would be assured it is normal to feel what they’re feeling at the moment.
It’s not a ‘child’ thing to feel reassured when you know someone who cares is around. It’s just that children need this all the more than the adults.Otherwise, their emotional growth is hampered. Usually, people who don’t ask for help or lives alone (not committing themselves to anyone) have child experiences of being left on their own just when they felt the need to be comforted. For your child’s sake, give him space butstay around where he can feel you near.
Talk and listen
One good outlet of handling any emotional turbulence is by way of talking. This is the best time to let your child talk about anything and everything under the sun. This is so especially when the deceased is someone close to his heart. On the first few days, weeks or even months, the child may not have a full grasp of the situation. Just let him blabber on until he runs out of things to talk about other than his emotions. When he does, you’ll know he’ll be ok.