When Children Grieve

When tragedy strikes a family or a nation, we do not have time to react. All we are left with is the shock, horror, and disbelief. When life is taken too soon we reach for answers that will not come. We turn to each other for strength and comfort, leaning on shoulders that bear grief alongside us. We feel broken, betrayed, and bereaved but we do not feel alone because others suffer alongside us.

What happens when your child is suddenly sideswiped by tragedy? When a schoolmate decides to take his own life, suddenly the rules are a bit different.

As a parent, you offer love, strength, and stability to your child but there is an overwhelming sense of powerlessness. You watch him grieve knowing that there is not a thing on earth that you can do to ease the pain. All you can do is pray and wait for the healing to do its work.

As a parent, it is hard to know how to help a child who has been affected by a classmate’s death. What can you do?

First, allow the child to grieve at his own pace. As difficult as it is, our job as parents is to resist trying to help and simply allow the child to feel all his emotions.

Second, maintain healthy habits at home. Keeping the child active by doing his normal everyday chores will promote a sense of normalcy and balance where he needs it most. Encourage your child to look beyond himself. Getting involved in group counseling, youth group, or public service will remind him that he is not alone.

Finally, watch for signs of depression and get help immediately if you sense that your child is despondent. As humans, we all on one scale or another fail to realize how powerful we really are. We are unaware that everything we do, every choice we make does affect everyone around us. The truth is that we are not alone and we are certainly not invisible.

When a person chooses to take his own life, the world he left behind is shaken to its knees, powerless, defenseless, and hopeless. Like a ripple in a pond, the affects of our choices are so far reaching that they seem to stretch into eternity. If we were truly aware of our power of influence on the world around us, how might our lives be different?

The good news is that time does heal. God’s mercies are new every morning and the sun will come out again. Underneath all the icy pain of grief, flowers are growing and preparing to bloom. While we are encased of the thick fingers of fog, healing is preparing her journey to find you and wrap you in her warm embrace. Weeping may remain for a night or a season but joy is only a prayer and a good hug away. Click here for more tips to help your hurting teen.

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