Grief and loss are unfamiliar emotions to many children. Young people who experience loss for the first time often don't know how to express themselves, and children who are very young often do not understand the greater consequences of loss. Death is a difficult concept for young children to grasp, and these deeper issues can leave many parents feeling uncertain. Knowing how to help your child handle his or her grief will help you and your children get past the most difficult times.
Seek Help When Necessary
Christian family counseling centers offer counseling sessions for parents and children experiencing the pain of loss. Professional counselors know how to coach children through their grief, and will be able to help children experiencing emotional or spiritual crisis. With professional training and a sensitive heart, professional counselors can help children who have cut off their emotions, who have ceased communicating about their feelings, and who have expressed their emotions in unhealthy ways. Seek help from a professional counseling center if you think your child needs extra help to move past this time in his or her life.
Take Comfort in Your Faith
As a Christian, you know about the great things that await after death. Speak to your child about your loved one being in heaven. Help your child to visualize what your loved one is seeing and doing in heaven. Especially for a younger child, drawing pictures together of your loved one in heaven with Jesus may help ease the pain of the loss.
Look to the Bible for verses that bring comfort to those who are grieving, such as Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good and to them that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Integrate these verses into your family's daily or weekly Bible study and talk about what they mean and how they relate to the loss and feelings of grief.
Rely on Your Spiritual Support System
Your church is like a giant extended family. In times of heartache and trouble, your church will provide spiritual guidance and familial support that may relieve some of the pressure you feel as a parent. If your child is active in Children's Church or Youth Group, reach out to the group's leaders who may have a special relationship with your child for help.
If your child is an older school-aged child or teen, he or she may benefit from extra time with peers from these groups. Your child may feel comfortable talking with church friends about feelings of grief. If your child is not currently involved in Youth Group or Children's Church this may be a good time to get involved. The positive peer relationships these groups foster can be especially beneficial when your child is going through a hard time, and the fun times with friends can also provide your child with something positive to focus on during their time of grief.
Most churches have a prayer chain or other means of sharing prayer requests with other church members. Reach out and request that your family be placed on the prayer list. Intercessory prayer can provide peace and comfort to your family during this difficult time.
Maintaining good communication and providing your child with the spiritual guidance he or she needs will help your child to heal. With time, your child will learn to grapple with the grief and move on.