When you are a parent, you want to protect your child from all that is scary and awful in the world. However, as hard as you might try, there are some things that just cannot be avoided. If your child recently had a close friend pass away, you may find yourself at a loss as far as what you can or should do to help your child through this difficult and challenging time. While there is not way to completely free your child of their grief, there are steps that you can take to help them and provide them with support. Get to know some of the things you can do for your child as they grieve so that you can start helping them as soon as possible.
Let Them Express Their Emotions
One of the worst things you can do for your child when they are grieving the loss of someone important to them is to tell them to "get over it" or to otherwise suppress their emotions. There is a natural course to the grieving process, and it involves a great deal of emotion and feelings. Let your child express their feelings as they go through this grieving process.
Allow your child to talk to you about what they are feeling (if they are willing and able to do so). Be open and supportive as they discuss what they think and feel. Just knowing that they have a safe space with you where they can just be whatever they are in that moment will provide your child with a sense of comfort and security that they need as they process what has happened.
Consider Taking Them for Professional Grief Support
While you can do a great deal to help your child in this difficult time, it can also be helpful to get your child some type of professional support. Sometimes, children respond better to an impartial adult when dealing with tough issues.
There are a couple of ways that you can go in seeking out professional support for your child. The first is through individual counseling. An individual counseling session with a grief counselor or therapist will be one-on-one and will help your child to get the full attention of their therapist. The therapist can work with them throughout several sessions on navigating the steps of grief and processing and dealing with their emotions. They can also help your child to develop coping strategies and provide treatment or support if your child begins to show signs of clinical depression.
Another option is a grief support group. These groups allow a number of people dealing with the loss of a loved one to come together, discuss their feelings and experiences, get advice from a counselor or group leader, and gain a sense of community. Sometimes there are groups available specifically for children, while others are a general grief group. If it is a general grief support group, you could also accompany your child to the group meetings so you understand what your child is going through better.
Knowing these steps, you can get started in helping your child through this sad situation as soon as possible.