Helping Kids Process Grief
[Editor's Note: Our boys were young in 2010, the year we refer to as The Year of Lots of Death. Sadly, 2011 was no better for us and as such, our boys have had a lot of practice at processing grief as a child. Theresa's recent post at Red Oak Road is one that I have bookmarked now for future reference. I find it helpful. How do you help kids process grief? -Jenna]
I am a big believer in giving children information and keeping them informed. Our girls were 3 and 5 when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer. We explained that in terms they could understand and she stressed the importance of not smoking to them. They saw her when she was having chemo and all of her hair was gone and they understood that her medicine made her lose her hair. I remember them asking if cold medicine could make them lose their hair and explaining the difference to them the best way that I could. I believe that keeping kids informed helps them to understand and be better able to cope with grief.
My girls were aware when my uncle first went into the hospital and that a good friend of mine (who is a nurse) had said that it sounded like leukemia way before he was diagnosed. They were aware of his diagnosis and the research on that diagnosis that I had done online. They were aware of his doctor's recommendations, his response to treatment, and other things that were going on. Piper wanted to believe that he would be okay, and although I wanted more than anything to protect her innocence, I felt it was important that I be honest and upfront with her.
Photo Credit: fallingwater123.