Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When a child dies, what friends & family should not do....

The death of a child is very different from that of a parent, spouse or other family member or friend.  It is an overwhelming grief that no one should ever experience.  But the reality is, it happens, and when and if it does, it's often hard to know what you should or shouldn't do to help the grieving parents...  
We hope these helpful hints will give you some insight - remember they need your unconditional love, support and patience and not just immediately after the loss, but during the years ahead.. and also remember that no parent "gets over the death of their child" they simply learn to live with it... Cherie Houston 
How NOT To Help A Friend Whose Child Has Died... 
~ Author Unknown
  • Don't be afraid of intruding. You're not.
  • Don't be afraid of offering help with daily chores or things that need to be done-Grieving parents usually have no idea what they need, so take some initiative with meals, picking up other children from school, household chores and other errands .
  • Don't avoid or ignore the grieving parents. They are already grieving a loss, and losing a friend or loved one only makes their grief worse..
  • Don't leave when you become uncomfortable. It will only make your friend feel worse - guilty about their grief.
  • Don't avoid talking to your friend because you don't know what to say.
  • Do not EVER say, "It is for the best," even if you believe it. It is trite, unfair & very hurtful.
  • Don't shirk on promises - if you've agreed to do something for the grieving family, failing at your responsibilities will feel like a bigger slap in the face.
  • Don't be hurt if the grieving parents say something mean or hurtful. They're not quite themselves, which means they lash out. Be patient.
  • Religion is a potentially explosive way to comfort. Unless you absolutely know 100% the person will be comforted by mentions of faith, don’t go there. Religion is a very complicated thing in the wake of a child’s death, and they may be angry at God or confused as to how to incorporate the death of a child into the religion that they have known to have their best interests in mind.
  • Even if the grieving parents are intensely religious, they may be having a crisis of faith in the wake of a child’s death, and they could be angered/saddened by mention of religion.
  • Especially stay away from, “God wanted her more than you,” or “God needed her more." I don’t care if it is the all powerful creator of the universe, you don’t tell any Mom or Dad that anyone wants their child more than they do.
  • So many people hate seeing their loved ones in such pain and want to fix it. Consequently, they start talking about how you have to move on, that you will see them again, the child is with God, it will get better in time, etc. - all things they think will “fix it.” Don’t try to do this-believe me, those comments don't "fix" anything.
  • Don't be afraid to bring up the lost child - the grieving parents will already be thinking of their child and talking about their child actually helps them in their grief..
  • If your friend doesn't want to discuss their lost child or their feelings, accept that and move on to another topic.
  • Don't say, "I know how you feel," because you do not. It minimizes the grief and grieving they're going through.
  • Don't say, "I don't know how you do it." Your friend does it because he or she has to.
  • Don't mention silver linings. That feels condescending and rude.
  • Don't put a time-table on grief. No one knows how long it will take to grieve the loss of a child, so don't expect that your friend will simply "get over it" in a specific period of time. They won't.
  • Don't refer to the child in impersonal ways - instead, use the child's name. It may feel uncomfortable to you, but it will remind your friend that the world has not, in fact, forgotten their lost child.
  • Don't forget about the siblings of the lost child. Not only have they lost a brother or sister, they've lost their parents during the grieving process.
  • Never discount your gut. If your friend seems to be suicidal or is beginning to isolate, seek professional help.
  • Don't forget the anniversary dates - almost no one remembers the second anniversary of a child's death. This makes parents feel as though the world has forgotten their child and that only adds to their pain and heartache.
  • Don’t be afraid to show emotion. Many people feel they have to be strong for their friends, that they can’t cry or show emotion. You can be strong AND be emotional. If tears come, don’t fight them. This shows your friends that you, too, are crushed and sad and lost

No comments:

Post a Comment