While losing someone you love impacts the whole family, your children will be especially touched by grief. It can be challenging for kids to face the finality of death, especially if they’ve never experienced it before. That’s why proper grief support for children is so important. Along with the many other funeral home services they provide to Detroit area families, Wujek Calcaterra & Sons also offers insight on how to help your children process grief. Keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all solution to grieving. What’s important is that your child feels safe and supported when expressing emotions. Some kids express sadness while others may react angrily, even directing anger at the deceased. These are natural ways of expressing grief for kids and parents should be there to provide assistance on processing this wide range of emotions. The following are just a few things you can do to ensure your child develops a healthy and productive grief response.
Keep the Age of Your Child in Mind
Very young kids usually fail to comprehend the permanence of death. While they’ll understand that a loved one is gone and others around them are sad, they may not grasp that the person is gone for good. Conversely, older kids are more likely to understand that death is indeed permanent. The best course of action is to answer questions your kids have openly and honestly using age-appropriate language. Be prepared to answer questions about where the deceased has gone, which is where your beliefs about the afterlife come into play. Express your true feelings about the matter, whatever they may be. If you’re not religious or spiritual, explain how the memory of the deceased live on in the hearts and minds of the people who love them. Focus on explaining things in a gentle and comforting way, no matter the age of the child. Also, be careful about sharing too much information. This may overwhelm your child, especially if he’s already having a hard time dealing with the loss.
Take Care of Yourself
Kids look to the adults in their lives for cues. That means the way you react to a loss will have an influence on your children. Don’t feel like you must hide your emotions or keep them in check at all times. Grieving is natural, and when you express your emotions in a constructive way, it sets a good example for your kids to follow. However, if you’re having outbursts or unable to control highly volatile reactions, it’s best that your children are not involved. In this case, ask for help from friends and family so you can take some time yourself. First, it allows you time to process your grief on your own, which is crucial to provide support to the rest of your family. It also allows your child to stick to a daily routine, which can be comforting after a loss. Not only does this take your child’s mind off what happened, but it also illustrates that life does go on after a tragedy.
Make a Decision About the Funeral
You must take your child’s maturity level in mind when deciding whether he or she should attend a funeral. While closure is important to the grieving process, insisting a child attend can have a negative effect. If your child does express interest and you feel she is mature enough, be sure to explain what to expect during the service. Some kids act out at funerals. This can be a reaction to seeing people grieve openly or it may be caused by dismay at seeing the loved one they lost. While these reactions are natural, they might upset other attendees or even your child. In this case, consider an alternate method of honoring the deceased. You and your child can plant a memorial tree or create a scrapbook of your loved one, which are two great ways to say goodbye.Wujek Calcaterra & Sons provides many diverse funeral services to accommodate the needs of their clients. Along with traditional burials, they also offer cremation, green burials, and military services. If you’d like more information on grief support, feel free to visit them online. If you have questions about planning a service, either for yourself or a loved one, please call (586) 588-9833 today.