How Do I Help My Child Grieve?

Do you have children who are grieving the loss of their father?

One thing I learned from Kent Allen, the counselor who produced videos for this website, was that I needed to be authentic with my children.

When my husband drowned, I felt I needed to be strong for the children. I felt if I were to let them see how deeply I was grieving, it would make them feel even worse. I didn’t want them to feel they didn’t have anywhere to turn when they needed a strong shoulder to cry on. I didn’t want them to see me weeping – so I did my weeping alone at night, with the bedroom door closed.

However, Kent taught that if I always put on a ‘happy face’, and pretended to be okay, they might get the idea that grieving was a weakness, and that they also needed to ‘stuff’ or hide their emotions.

I wish I’d learned that earlier. I know it would have made the journey through grief smoother for us all.

Are you able to be ‘real’ with your children about your grief? Author Deanna Edwards tells of a young child who explained the weeping that accompanies grief in these words: “Tears are the way God gave us to let the hurt out.”

It’s a lucky child that understands that, and who is encouraged to allow those tears to fall freely and frequently as they mourn the loss of a loved one.  And it’s up to us to be their example.