P.O. Box 99, 400 - 5th Avenue, Kenaston, SK S0G 2N0
Phone: 306-252-2182
Email: camille.hounjet@sunwestsd.ca

News Details

26Apr 2018

Counsellor Quotes

Counselor Quotes May,  2018

“When someone we love dies, we don’t get over it, we get through it.”

Experiencing grief firsthand is a strange and confusing process for most children. Children are aware of death, but depending on how young they are they may not really understand it. We can’t protect our children from the pain of loss, but we can help them to feel safe when they do experience it.

It is important to talk with our children about how they are feeling when a death happens. Some may not be able to identify the feeling they are having with a specific word, but they can usually tell how their body feels or what they are thinking. Allowing children to tell us what they are thinking without having to worry about saying the wrong things will go a long way in helping them to deal with the loss and their emotions. All kids grieve differently. A child may go from crying one minute to playing the next. This does not mean they are not sad or that they have finished grieving; children cope differently than adults, and playing can be a defense mechanism to prevent a child from feeling overwhelmed.

Children will feel a variety of emotions (same as adults) such as sadness, guilty, anxious, regret, or angry at the person who has died. It is good for kids to be able to safely express whatever emotions they are feeling. Some children may not be able to express themselves through words and reading a story to them, or encouraging them to draw or tell stories may help them be able to express themselves.

Children may have many questions. Answer those questions truthfully and don’t volunteer more information than they would be able to handle or understand. That can be too overwhelming. If they want more information they will ask more questions, providing you are able to make them feel safe to ask. Answer honestly and if you don’t have an answer for their questions, tell them that you ‘don’t know.’ Kids are very literal, and hearing that a loved on “went to sleep” can be scary. It may also make your child afraid of bedtime! Allow your children to see that adults, including men, often cry when death occurs. Explain that crying is a healthy and helpful way of coping with sorrow. It is also important to share memories of the loved one with your child and encourage them to draw pictures, or make a memory book of the person who has died. It is also okay for your child to see you laughing and being happy at this time as well, when you share memories of good times with the deceased person.

Sticking to regular routines with your children as much as possible may also help them to feel safe and give the child a sense of normality in what may be a chaotic time. Call on family members, and friends to help you care for your children and provide them with normal routines when possible.

For many children, the death of a pet may be their first experience with death. The death of a family pet can be extremely upsetting for children. Don’t minimize the pet’s importance, or immediately replace the dead pet with a new animal. Instead, give your child time to grieve for his dog or cat. This is an opportunity to teach your child about death and how to deal with grieving in a healthy way. And for them to learn that the emotions we feel when grieving do become less intense over time. We may never “get over” the death of a loved one, but we will “get through” the intense emotional pain and feel joy in our lives once again.

Sue Mills - Youth Counselor (email – sue.mills@sunwestsd.ca) (cell) 306-567-8562