How parents and carers can help
To my parent or carer, please…
- Talk to me honestly and explain about what has happened in a way I can understand. I may need more information and reassurance.
- 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.
- 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.
- Notice if I am feeling lonely and find out about groups for children and young people coping with loss and change.
- Remind me that I am not to blame and that it’s not my fault although I may need to talk about this.
- 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.
- Let me keep something that belonged to………..[the person who has died].
- Give me a hug.
- Help me to have fun and laugh sometimes. This does not mean I am ‘over it, have ‘forgotten’ or ‘couldn’t care’.
- 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.
- 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.