The loss of a loved one is difficult under any circumstance, but the death of your spouse can be life shattering, especially if you have young children together. Grieving the loss of your spouse while trying to comfort, console, and help your children understand such a major life change is typically mentally, emotionally, and even physically stressful. Use the following tips to help your young children cope with the loss of a parent:
Be Honest with Your Children
Depending on the age of your children, they may have a vaguely understand the concept of death but not grasp what it really means. As hard as it may be, try to be honest with your children and explain death in an age appropriate manner. Try to avoid telling your children that their parent is sleeping or has gone away, as children can often take explanations like this quite literally and may not be able to get closure if they think that their parent may come back or wake up.
Turn to Family Counseling
In the event of the loss of a spouse and parent, family counseling can be extremely beneficial. As the surviving parent, it is natural to want to be strong for your kids and help them cope with their pain on your own, but you need time to grieve as well. Sessions with a family counselor who is experienced in grief counselling can give your children a safe place to talk and share their feelings, and you will have a professional to assist you in helping your children adjust to a new normal that doesn't include one of their parents. In addition, a family counselor can be a valuable asset for you, and individual grief sessions can help you begin to heal so you can be the best parent possible.
Ensure That Your Children Have Extra Love and Care
Losing a parent is often confusing and scary for children; they may experience nightmares, behave badly in order to get attention, or become afraid and anxious that you will die too. This is all normal, and one of the best things you can do is ensure that your children receive love, attention, and a lot of hugs and kisses during the weeks and months after the death of a parent. During this time period you will have your own grief to work through, so don't be afraid to accept the help of family and friends who are close to your children and can help provide support.
For more information, contact a place like The Center for Family Counseling, Inc.