How to Help Your Child Deal with His Friend’s Death
Death is universal. It doesn’t choose race, ethnicity, and age. Yes, even children are very susceptible to it. Unlike that of the adults, though, the death of a child is always more painful and confusing. How can someone so young lose his life over a disease or a traumatic event? If it’s hard for you to understand, then most definitely it’s a lot harder for your child.
You can prevent it. There’s a huge chance that your child has to deal with the death of his friend. As a parent, you have to learn how to teach your kid how to cope with it easily and effectively:
1. Be honest. It’s always a good idea to never sugarcoat death to a child, though you’re always free to use metaphors if it makes explaining a lot easier. For example, if you’re religious or Christians, you can refer to death as going into heaven. Never say that his friend is just going away for a very long time. Your child may just wait—and get frustrated of waiting—because of that.
2. Allow him to grieve. You’d know that your child is grieving because he will become more withdrawn and distraught. You may find him staring out the window most of the time and often quiet. You should give him the space to do all these things, and never tell him that he shouldn’t feel too sad about his friend’s death. You’re not in the position to really judge what he truly feels.
You just need to make sure that he doesn’t fall into intense depression. This normally happens when his depressed feelings go on for more months or when he entertains thoughts about death himself.
3. Allow him to ask questions. A lot of parents make the mistake of not answering their kids’ questions. They believe that by doing so, they protect them from further pain and hurt. However, your child also deserves to know, and by answering his questions, you would be able to help him process the idea of death.
4. Help yourself deal with stress. Dealing with a child who is grieving can be very stressful for you. There will be times when he’s irritable or moody. No amount of consolation would make him less sad. He may not be following some of the routines you’re both used to. However, you cannot afford to let the stress get the best of you. Once you do that, you will lose your capacity to fully support your kid physically and emotionally.
It can help you a great deal if you implement the use of subliminal messages or affirmations to boost your tired spirit. Whenever you feel so lost and exhausted, you can remind yourself that “My child needs all the love and support I can give” or “Stress doesn’t last for a long time. I can get over this.”
Note: The subliminal messages can also be helpful to your kid. For him, you can look for videos or images that showcase about eternal brotherly love.