The first stage is early grief. It comes and goes and isn't present every day. It's a time when they need comfort and assurance.
Phase 2 is acute grief, presenting itself in a more constant emotional state. They are no longer in denial. They are very aware of what's happened and are reacting to it. As a parent you may find it in your child as follows:
- Anger that causes lashing out at people or acting out and misbehaving.
- Despair/Depression causing uncontrolled weeping, sleeping or disconnecting from people.
- Yearning/Searching for something good from their past. They talk a lot about memories and long to go back to certain places or times.
- Overwhelmed by the slightest choices or chores. Easily disoriented.
Patience is key when they act out or get inappropriately angry. When they are overwhelmed by something, help them break it down into bite-sized chunks they can handle. If possible, take them to the place they long to re-visit or pull out old photos and allow them to process their losses. Don't neglect professional care or counseling if your child seems to be experiencing depression. But do display understanding and affection, reassuring them you are there for them and they are not alone.
Finally, but not least...pray for and with them. Model dependance on the Lord during this season, offering hope in Christ.
Next time I'll conclude this series discussing Phase 3: Acceptance. Meanwhile, use the comment box to tell us what you have tried and how it worked.