As you read this millions of young people around the world are grieving over some sort of significant loss in their lives…
Often the adults around them aren’t sure what to say or do to help them.
Helping a child cope with loss can be very challenging and intimidating.
As adults we want to say or do the “right” thing and can put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to say or do SOMETHING. When this occurs, we often say the WRONG thing or do something which isn’t very helpful.
Below are some examples of things that grownups and parents often say in these moments.
Don’t say this. Say this instead
Along with them are examples of some things you can SAY instead:
Expect a range of responses
The most important thing you can do is simply be with a child while they are grieving.
- Witness their distress….
- Listen to what they have to say…
- Tolerate silence when they’re not ready to speak…
Suspend judgement about how your child “should” cope with their situations and stay open to the wide range of responses that children may have.
Let them experience grief in their own way
Let them know that you will be there with them. While it’s important to intervene when you believe a child may hurt themselves or others, most of the time children are able to express intense emotions without danger.
Now you have some ideas what to NOT SAY and a bit of guidance on what to do.
Next week I am going to provide further information and tips on what to DO as a parent or adult to support a child going through grief. There are many good practical strategies!