Dealing with Grief in Children

Parents try their best to keep their children away from grief. A moment’s grief in a child’s life can have long-term negative effects on their health and well-being. Death of a grandparent, loss of a treasured pet or even breaking of a toy leaves many unanswered questions in a child’s mind.

Parents should teach their children about the possibility of such losses and tell them that life is not always a bouquet of roses. Parents need to teach their children that sometimes, they have to bear defeat and the best behavior in such circumstances is to move on with life.

Grief does bring feelings of sadness and despair. It is healthy to cry every once in a while, to lighten up the heart. Parents should encourage their children to express their inner most feelings or write them down on a piece of paper. It always helps to share the grief with other people.

Children's grief reactions and tips for supporting them

Parents are advised to keep their own depression and tension to a certain limit and try to hide it from their children. An atmosphere heavy with depression and blues, where no one cares for other people’s moments of happiness, is not a very healthy one for children. Children depend on their parents and look up to them to provide happiness and comfort.

Parents are able to detect a change in behavior of their children. If you think your child is oddly quiet and is not taking interest in other activities, go up to him or her and ask what is wrong. The children with open arms welcome a parent’s advice in the times of grief and loneliness. So, do not think you are trying to step on your children’s privacy. Tell your children that they are not alone. Parents are supposed to be their children’s best friends.

Depression lasts for many days and in some cases, months. Do not let it linger on for more than a few days in case of your children. They should learn to accept things as they are, and if they are not accepting them, there might be something wrong. Consult a doctor or a psychiatrist if feelings of loneliness and dejection continue to haunt your children.

To keep your children’s mind away from the aftereffects of a grief, take them out to an exotic place for a vacation. Explore new things, visit beautiful places and buy lots of toys and stuff for your children to help them forget the loss.

Just as prolonged depression is dangerous for health, showing no feeling and no sensitivity to unfortunate events is also an alarming sign. Everyone must possess feelings for the good and bad times that are part of life and should express those feelings. If your child is insensitive, cold and withdrawn, you may want to consult a psychiatrist again or try to change, your family setup or even the surrounding environment to bring about a change.