When we grieve the death of an important person in our lives difficult questions surface with astounding urgency. What do we say to the family? What should we do to show how much we miss this person? How and what do we tell our children?
Parents and caregivers often struggle with how to talk to their bereaved children. They worry about finding the right words, when to have such profound conversations and how much information to give their children.
It is helpful for children to learn how to think about, describe, and talk about their feelings. When adults assist children, they fare better and they are better prepared to cope with reminders of the deceased as well as making sense of the emotions and behaviors associated with grief. Balance is the key, even when adults express their own emotions in front of children. Honest emotions and unambiguous words help confirm the child’s feelings and grief experiences.