PTSD Survivors Speak: Helping Children Grieve
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 • PTSD Guest Post: Survivors Speak •
My guest today, Sue Laubscher, has personal experience with grief. She’s definitely an expert in handling, accepting, and working through the grief process. In the post below she shares her voice so that should you need to in your own lives you can apply her ideas and find solace.
Children can accept loss if there is something to hope for, something to look forward to. But if they view their lives as one loss after another, recovery is extremely difficult. Here are some general guidelines in helping your children grieve:
- Understand that children have feelings even if they do not show them. A child’s initial response, like adults, is denial.
- Tell your children about the feelings you are struggling with.
- Tell them they are not responsible for the loss.
- Help them understand what has happened. Share just enough details to satisfy their questions, avoiding anything that would traumatize them.
- Be there for them. They need more than words. Your presence can help them grieve the loss.
- Help them remember the good times and encourage them to share their emotions.
- Empathize with their hurt without condoning any wrong behavior.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15). Lord, You love my children even more than I do. Give me the wisdom to care for them and nurture them through my grief. Amen
Sue Laubscher and her family have been working through much tragic loss which started a few years back with her own husband’s suicide. Sue’s sister and brother also committed suicide. Last year their other granddad and uncle were also tragically taken – one on the very day of the other’s funeral – so their loss has been astronomical. Her grandkids – she has eight – were young – the youngest a few months and the oldest in Grade 7 when the first loss occurred. Her children – who were obviously young parents – have also had such a very hard road to travel.
Picture acknowledgement: Hospice Care of Piedmont
The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. To contribute to ‘Professional Perspective’ contact Michele.