Parenting during times of Stress and Loss - Hospice of the North Coast
  • ACCEPT AND RESPECT the feelings of your children.
  • REMEMBER that children think and grieve differently than adults.
  • EXPRESS your own feelings openly and appropriately.
  • Communicate openly and honestly. NEVER LIE.
  • ANSWER all of your children’s questions and concerns with honest, simple answers.
  • ALLOW your children to express feelings in their own ways and at their own pace.
  • MAINTAIN routines and consistency as much as possible.
  • KEEP DISCIPLINE fair, reasonable, and age-appropriate.
  • DO NOT CHANGE THE RULES. Set limits and keep them.
  • BALANCE discussion of the past with awareness of the present.
  • SHOW your children how important they are.
  • SET ASIDE TIME to have one-to-one, uninterrupted interactions with each child.
  • REMEMBER that grieving children may act out because of feelings of insecurity or abandonment, to provoke punishment/limit-setting, to externalize their grief feelings, or to protect themselves from future losses. BE PATIENT!

Family Healing Activities

  • Make a family scrapbook of photos, drawings, and mementos that memorialize your lost loved one. make lists of his/her talents, characteristics, favorite things. Be sure to include blank pages for adding memories as time goes by.
  • Plant a tree or plant in memory of the lost loved one. Watch it grow. Have picnics around it. Tie ribbons on it. Nurture and care for it.
  • Do relaxation exercises as a family. Breathe deeply, visualize your body relaxing. Take a peaceful imaginary trip using visualization.
  • Write a book about your family’s experience with loss. Encourage children to dictate, write, and/or illustrate. Protect it with a good cover and share it with others.
  • Instead of a book, your family may choose to dictate your story onto a tape or videotape recorder. Tell stories, sing songs, share feelings. Watch or listen to it later as a family.
  • Create a “worry box” for the family. Encourage each member to write or draw feelings of guilt, regret, fear, or worry and place them into the box. Imagine being released from the feelings as the enter the box. Imagine being released from the feelings as they enter the box. bur the box and papers in a fireplace or fire pit.
  • Set aside a place of remembrance in your home with photos, mementos, etc. Allow children to add “gifts” such as flowers, drawings, poems, or letters. Provide supervised times for candle-lighting, prayers, or discussion of feelings and memories.
  • Volunteer as a family for a charity or cause that was meaningful to your lost loved one. (Examples: beach clean-up, senior citizen’s center, soup kitchen.)