Grief and loss are unfortunate but inevitable parts of life. For children, experiencing these emotions can be even more difficult as their brains are still developing, and sensitivity to change is heightened. Even if your child has not yet experienced grief or loss, these are feelings they will eventually have to handle or support friends through in their circle.

In this article, we will explore how to teach children about grief and loss in a healthy and productive way, so that you can establish strong emotional resilience in your little ones.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

When it comes to teaching your children about grief and loss, honesty is the best policy. This means not beating around the bush when it comes to speaking about loved ones passing, homes being sold, or family pets needing to be put down.

Grief and loss can come in many forms, from death to finishing the school year and having to change teachers. Be honest with your child about changes that are happening so they feel informed as they navigate these new feelings.

Encourage Healthy Expression of Feelings

Encouraging healthy expression of feelings is helpful for children experiencing any emotion, especially ones of grief and loss. Trying to bottle down emotions can be detrimental, but children will oftentimes try to hide their true feelings to protect adults in their lives or appear more mature. Encourage your child to express how they are feeling, whether it’s crying or needing more alone time, these reactions are entirely normal.

Offer Validation

Everyone wants to feel validated in their feelings, both children and adults! As your child navigates feelings of grief and loss, offer validation to them so they know their reactions are normal and warranted. This will help them feel more comfortable coming to you for comfort and advice. In times of turmoil and heightened emotion, your bond may become stronger than ever.

Be a Positive Role Model

Even though you may also be navigating your own emotions as you endure feelings of grief and loss, being a positive role model for your child is paramount. This does not mean that you have to react to everything perfectly! Wearing your heart off your sleeve and letting your child see you while you’re down can be of great comfort to them, as it provides a source of solidarity.

Be Open to Questions and Answer Honestly

It is normal for children to have questions about the situation at hand or the feelings they are experiencing when it comes to enduring grief and loss. enduring grief and loss. If your child is being inquisitive about sensitive topics such as death, divorce, moving on, or economic hardship, it is important for you to be open and answer their questions in an honest and appropriate way.

This will help them feel more comfortable coming to you as their desire to learn more and be curious heightens. By providing them with context and information, they will feel more equipped to handle change and challenging conversations.

Provide Access to Resources

Providing your child with access to resources is one of the best things that you can do as a parent. Being present for your child is paramount, but you are only one person. Connecting your child with a licensed professional who can help them process emotions in a healthy way backed by science is invaluable.

If your child is struggling with grief and loss, you are not alone. Connect with our professionals at Neurobehavioral Associates today to help you and your child navigate this difficult time.