How parents and carers can help

To my parent or carer, please…

  1. Talk to me honestly and explain about what has happened in a way I can understand. I may need more information and reassurance.
  2. Talk to me about the funeral and how I can be included. It will help me to remember and say goodbye. Try to include me in decisions and give me choices.
  3. Inform the school about my loss and find out who I can talk to in school if I need some help. Help me get back into school by talking to me about what additional support I may need. It may be difficult for me to leave home.
  4. Notice if I am feeling lonely and find out about groups for children and young people coping with loss and change.
  5. Remind me that I am not to blame and that it’s not my fault although I may need to talk about this.
  6. Help me keep memories alive by talking and remembering, especially on anniversaries. There will be things I need to remember and others that I want to forget.
  7. Let me keep something that belonged to………..[the person who has died].
  8. Give me a hug.
  9. Help me to have fun and laugh sometimes. This does not mean I am ‘over it, have ‘forgotten’ or ‘couldn’t care’.
  10. Give me space but talk to me if you are worried I am not eating properly or having sleep or other problems, so we can do something about it together.
  11. Arrange for me/us to get extra help if I am feeling stuck and overwhelmed.

Important reminders for parents and carers

  • Remember that ‘super parents’ do not exist. Just do what you can, when you can. Be gentle on yourself.
  • There is more than one way to support your children. Choose the things that you feel most comfortable with.
  • Accept that some things just cannot be ‘made better’ in a short space of time.
  • Talk to children using words they understand and ask questions to check they have understood you.
  • Give information a bit at a time if your children are younger. Pieces of the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ can be put together over time to make the complete picture.
  • Show children how you are feeling: it helps them to know that it is OK to show their feelings too.
  • Encourage children to ask questions and keep answering them – even it is for the 100th time.
  • Answer questions honestly and simply and be willing to say ‘I do not know’.
  • Try to find ways in which children can be involved.
  • Keep talking about the person who has died.
  • Trust yourself and your instincts – you have not forgotten how to parent your child.
  • Look after yourself too.