Grief. Messy, complicated, sad, and absolutely not linear.
Even with the “stages of grief” being described as stages you move through, thoroughly grieving often emcopassses a movement forward and regressions backwards in stages. It is not neat.
If the person who recently passed away was close to the family, chances are you as a parent are also grieving. Grief is messy and I’m sorry for your loss. Be kind to yourself in the journey ahead. In the midst of your own pain, it can be challenging to bring up and help your child understand what has happened and grieve the death of someone important.
Included in this blog are several books that can help bring up and normalize what is happening. Consider reading them prior to sharing a book with your child in order to prepare yourself emotionally, as well as consider potential worldview and religious questions that your child may raise.
Because children develop rapidly, helping them cope looks different at different ages. Here is a developmental, age-appropriate guide to grief behavior in children. Grief often can cause regression, so do not be alarmed if your child suddenly fits the description in the age-bracket younger than their chronological age.
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children
Death is a natural part of life. This book gently brings awareness that death is normal, and everything has a beginning, middle or lifetime, and then ends in death. The book considers all of creation as having their own lifetime, and ends with what human lifetimes encompass.
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
Grief work often is remembering. When someone dies, thinking through memories and describing what your relationship was like with that person while they lived is a tangible way to do this. Reading how the character remembers his cat who dies can then be a starter for you remember the important person together.
Remember the cautions word about reading the books prior to sharing with your child- this book was in my mind when making that recommendation. It is incredibly moving. This book highlights how complicated grief can be in story form, giving permission that personal grief can look different than those around you.
Again, I am sorry for the loss in your family. Hopefully these resources lend you hope to continue forward with the grief in your family. If you are finding that you or your child is needing support during this difficult season, please don’t hesitate to reach out so we can help you find the support you are needing.
Although it may not currently feel as if life will keep progressing, I assure you it will. And with time and attention given to grief, your child will heal from the wound of experiencing the death of someone important to them.
If you want to see other great recommended resources for grieving or other topics related to parenting, check out our Amazon Affiliate store.
(Thanks in advance for using the links above. We get a minor commission for referring you to Amazon, which we reinvest in different things within the business such as a sliding fee scale for low-income clients and new toys for our play therapy practice.”)
Child Therapist | LCPC, RPT
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