Life isn't always full of roses. Some painful events can really affect your child. Events like divorce, death of a relative or pet, a friend moving away, and illness are just some examples that can have lasting effects on your child. The first step to helping your child cope is to help yourself. Make sure you have a support system to help you deal with the traumatic event. Then, help your child.
- Even though it may be difficult, when talking to your child about the traumatic event, always try and be calm. Your child will look to you for how to cope with the loss.
- Let your child know you love them, care about them and want to know how they are feeling.
- Empathize with your child. If you're feeling the same, let them know. Make sure they know that their feelings are normal considering the events.
- Allow your child to express their feelings, either through words or pictures. Listen to what they have to say.
- Don't try and avoid difficult questions. Answer everything you can. It's okay to say, "I don't know".
- Let your child know that you are taking his/her concerns seriously.
- If your child has a hard time talking about their feelings, let them know you are there for them. If they don't bring up the situation in a couple of days, introduce the subject again.
- If your child changes the way he/she talks, plays or expresses feelings, this may be a sign of having difficulty with the situation.
- Watch for changes in behavior, such as becoming aggressive, withdrawing or having physical complaints. These may also be signs of having difficulty with the traumatic event.