Friday, November 17, 2006

Be Honest With Your Grieving Children

my little fallen angel
Originally uploaded by childish_david.

You may wonder how much to say to your children about the loss of their sibling, parent, relative, or friend. Of course, you have to gauge it to their ages and attention spans, but with this in mind, we encourage you to be honest and open with your children.

"As parents you want to protect them; you want to make it right for them, and yet you don't know that what you're doing is actually not hurting them," says Dora. "When we first got back from the hospital after their sister died, we were at a loss for words, and we probably did all the wrong things. They wanted to know how she died, and my husband said, "Well, she fell asleep; it's just like falling asleep, only she just didn't wake up. It was very comfortable." Neither one of my girls could sleep after that for months because they were afraid they were going to die. Their comprehension is so limited at that age."

God understands that you do not know what to say. He will enable you. Be truthful, yet compassionate with your children, and pray continually for His guidance. Encourage the children to ask you questions, and keep the lines of communication open at all times. Also, seek help from experienced parents or a counselor for advice on how to explain such things to children.

"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5)

Holy God, open my mouth to honestly talk and share with my children. Help me to be available and approachable to them. Amen.

From "Through A Season of Grief" by Bill Dunn and Kathy Leonard