How to Support a Grieving Child

The death of a loved one is never easy, and if your child is grieving, he or she will need a lot of support. Children process emotions much differently than adults do, and may not know how to clearly state what they need and when. Here is some advice that may help you communicate with and support your child if he is attending a memorial, burial, or funeral service for a loved one.

Communicate Openly With Your Child

Your child may have questions about the person who has died, and about death in general. Answer these questions openly and honestly, speaking in simple, clear language. Avoid euphemisms about the deceased that may confuse him, such as “lost,” or “passed away.” Allow him to speak honestly about his emotions in his own time and his own way, and provide comfort without pressure. When your child expresses grief or pain, let him know that you are listening by asking him open-ended questions about his feelings.

Don’t Avoid Speaking About the Person Who Has Died

The best way to provide grief support is to share memories about the person who has died. If your child brings up the deceased, encourage him to share happy memories, and share some of your own. Look at pictures of the deceased together, or give your child a memento that will help him remember his loved one.

Make Allowances for Different Grieving Styles

Your child may not grieve in the same way or at the same pace that you do. Don’t express frustration or confusion if a child seems to move on too fast, or not quickly enough. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and your child should feel that his grieving process, while different, is not improper or abnormal.

If your child is in need of grief counseling in San Mateo, call us at Skylawn Memorial Park. We provide a wide variety of culturally diverse grief support services, accessible online, over the phone, and in person. To learn more, call (650) 445-0953.

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