A child processes emotions differently from grown-ups. When it comes to grief, especially that of a parent, they may face various psychological, emotional and social difficulties which they can’t manage on their own.
And if left unaddressed, the child may experience low self-esteem, intense grief, depression, anxiety, regression in behaviour, insecurity, academic challenges etc. I could go on and on here because the list is endless.
Therefore it is essential as a caregiver that you provide support which would help the child a long way to overcome this loss.
A child may feel isolated grief and find difficulty expressing and communicating their feelings and needs after the devastating loss of a parent.
To help a child open up, it is important that you first create a safe environment where he/she can express their emotions without judgement.
Give the child your undivided attention and always give reassurances and support as this builds trust.
Validate emotions and encourage expression
This is a crucial step in helping a child cope with loss. Letting the child understand that sadness, anger and confusion are natural responses to loss would let them know that it is natural to feel that way.
It would encourage the child and provide a healthy outlet for suppressed emotions.
Maintain routine and stability
In the midst of confusion and uncertainty, it is essential that you maintain consistency and stability in the child’s daily life as they would give a sense of normalcy.
Routines that include academic activities, hobbies, interaction with friends would help deal with grief.
Seek professional support
Seeking professional support from a counselor would give the child expert help which would aid in combating grief.
Encouraging memories and building a support network
The child should also be encouraged to carry out special occasions in honour of their deceased parent as this would help to keep their memory alive.
The caregiver should also build a support network with relatives and friends as this would help facilitate healing