It is a very obvious situation of extreme grief that when
one of the parents dies, the child suffers a huge loss. As you become a single
parent, you need to become even more careful on how you deal with your own
loss and at the same time help your child deal with the crises at such a tender
age. It is a very difficult situation for children as their sense of security
gets very badly affected. As you help the child in coping with the loss, you
are helping him develop a skill that will benefit him in his later years as an
adult as well.
You Need to Explain
Have a quick look at how you can talk your
child about death.
Understand What Death is Actually
The parent often feels that the child is too young to
understand the concept of death,
they are mentally too fragile. But in reality, children have a great deal of
emotional strength and it is easier to help them understand difficult things
from the objective point of view. They are curious about death and once you
explain them the truth, they will be able to distinguish the imaginary from the
reality. At the same time, you need to understand that your child is also
feeling the pain, is in a mourning state and needs some time to grow out of it.
Make the Fact
The younger the kid, the more easily will the child think in
specific, concrete terms. So do not try to cloud his thoughts by saying that
the “dear one” has “gone for a long trip” or is “into sleep”. It is very
dangerous as the kid will expect the person to wake up or return. You might be
required to repeatedly explain to him that the person is no longer there, and
is dead. But stress the fact that he or she will remain forever in our fond
memories. The more the kid asks questions like “will mom or dad come back?” be
patient and controlled as you answer that he or she is no more and is dead.
Teach your Child
to Accept the Reality
Kids can well find it difficult to associate death with everything.
Explain that there are two facets of every living being, life and death. So try
to retain your composure as you explain the facts to him and help them realise
that death can happen to every living being around him, the pet doggy or the
neighbourhood uncle. Remember, your attitude will brush on to the kid and he
will find himself in a better position to cope with the loss.
Ways to Help Him Cope
Keep the following things in mind to help
your child cope with death with and ease.
Be Calm, Silent
Make it a point to offer your calm and silent presence. The
kid might give you an emotional
stare or a comment; reinstate it by repeating and reciprocating the same. But,
do not resort to meaningless phrases like “I know how you feel” because it is
not really possible for anyone to “know” another person’s pain.
Always reassure the child that his feelings of grief, sadness,
loneliness, fear and anxiety are normal. Every individual tries to vent out the
negative feelings by some actions or behavior, you might come across some new
behavior like tearing up magazines, newspapers, or punching cushions and
pillows when alone. Allow them to do it and then offer compassion. Help him
understand that it is all right to be angry but nothing should be done to harm
Go through workbooks and search for ways that help to cope
up with such losses.
Encourage the kid to participate in activities that are of
interest to him. It can be anything from gardening, handicraft activities to
writing, painting or reading. Help them make a memory book, pay their tribute
to the deceased in their own way and participate in the rituals. They play a
big role in the healing process.
As you spend time with your kid, you need to be very
observant regarding his behavior. If you notice that they are just not able to
cope with the loss, seek professional help immediately.