No matter how old you are, witnessing the death of a loved one can be one of the most devastating experiences that you can go through in life. The mere thought of not being able to see your loved one, hear their voice or see their smile in real life ever again could break your heart.
But if you are an adult, you need to make sure that while you put aside some time to grieve properly, you also keep yourself together to fulfill the task of arranging your loved one’s funeral services.
And in addition to arranging the funeral, you also have to take care of the rest of your family to ensure that they are grieving properly and if they are in a stable condition. This particular part of the process gets even more difficult when one of those family members is a young child.
If your family has a kid who has not witnessed death before, it can be quite overwhelming to guide them to cope through the process. By keeping the following tips in mind, you can ensure to help them to the best of your ability to ensure of their well being in the long term.
- Don’t Shield Them from the News
Depending upon your child’s mental development, they would be able to understand things at a very young age. As a parent or guardian, it is your responsibility to respect their mental growth and respond to it with information that could help them in life.
Keeping this in mind, do not shield the information of someone’s death if your child is capable of understanding such concepts. Children are known to be more perceptive than we give them credit for, and they would know if you are hiding something as non-concealable as a loved one’s death. Make sure to deliver the news to them in an explanatory manner, while also ensuring that they get time to grieve properly.
- Let Them Grieve on Their Own Terms
Whether the death was of a grandparent, a parent, a sibling or another close relative or friend, it is essential that you let your child know that they are free to grieve. Here, you need to assure them that crying out their feelings is just as fine as writing about them. And that you are there for them even if you seem busy with finding funeral homes or putting together the memorial service.
This applies to children of all ages, since they can tend to hold sadder emotions in front of adults especially when they don’t want to upset them. To make sure that their mental well-being is not negatively affected, let them grieve on their own terms, but keep a watchful eye to make sure that you can guide them wherever possible.
- Don’t Keep Them From Attending the Funeral
This is something crucial. If you have told your child about the death of your loved one, then they should get the chance to attend the funeral and say goodbye. It is important for that closure to take place in their grieving process, as it isn’t going to be any easier for them if you don’t let them attend the funeral.
When at the memorial service, make sure to be truthful to them about the finality of the process and refrain from giving them false hope. Similarly, make sure to let them attend the burial service if you are having one, or let them know how the cremation services take place in case you plan to take home the remains of your loved one.
Since every child is different, the nuances of the grieving process may vary. But keeping this general tapestry of how to help them would go a long way in assisting you during the difficult time as well.