How to Help Parents Cope With Loss

When you’re a parent, a loss feels harder because you have to grieve personally and then figure out how to help your kids when you are hurting.
|
Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
April 24, 2020
|
3
Minute Read

When Parents Experience Loss — How to Help the Family

Loss is something we all deal with. While some losses are small, others seem impossible to overcome. When you’re a parent, loss feels harder because you have to grieve personally and then figure out how to help your kids when you are hurting. What should you say or not say to them?

One of the hardest things about dealing with loss as a parent is that there is no blueprint to follow. No loss is the same, nor is there one way to deal with it. Loss can cover anything from losing a meaningful item in your home to losing a job or losing a loved one.

Why Loss is Hard

Loss is not a new thing. Generation after generation has dealt with their share of hardships, some worse than others. Whether you experience a major recession, a significant outbreak, or a society-altering event like a terrorist attack, there will be extraordinary emotions to deal with after.

Dealing with loss as a parent poses additional stress. Many parents wonder how they will explain these hard events to their kids. Depending on what is going on, there might be questions about how to move forward with life as usual. 

The question of whether you will recover - financially, emotionally, socially, or physically, is a heavy question for parents to ponder. With kids involved, there are more lives at stake.

Of course, everyone handles stress and trials differently. It doesn’t help when you see friends, family, or neighbors, seemingly sailing through a tough situation when you are barely getting by. Loss affects everyone differently because everyone is unique and in different situations.

Tips to Deal with Loss

It is our job as parents to provide a safe and stable environment. That task gets immeasurably more difficult when you are stressed about life events. But, there are some things you can do as a parent to deal with stress and help your kids cope.

  1. Leave the stress at the door. Leave the stress at the door. While this is always easier said than done, bringing additional stress into your home doesn’t help anyone. Kids are perceptive and generally know what is going on. Leaving as much as you can at the door will make life at home more peaceful. 
  2. Find some alone time. Getting away from kids and being alone helps you deal with your own fears or sadness. Getting past these feelings requires grieving. When you are alone, write down your feelings. Getting them out onto paper helps you resolve them more quickly.
  3. Look for fun. Finding activities that you and your kids enjoy can help alleviate stress. Find something, like theatre, sports, reading, art, or something else you can do as a family. Hearing the joyful laugh of your kiddos will make anything better, even if only briefly.
  4. Relax. Sounds obvious, but it’s true. Don’t feel like you need to plan every minute. Take some time to relax, even if it’s only watching your favorite Grey’s Anatomy reruns after the kids go to bed.
  5. Ask for help. Remember, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help. No one can do it all on their own. You know the saying it takes a village? There’s a reason for it. Whether that help is from your parents, fellow parents, a sitter, or someone else, don’t be afraid to ask.
  6. Take a break. Planning a getaway for yourself or with your partner can help give you some perspective and refresh you so you can deal with everything when you get back. Family vacations are also a great way to help everyone during a rough time.
  7. Balance is everything. Ensure there is downtime in your schedule. Having too many things you are juggling will add to the stress and emotions everyone is feeling. Furthermore, ensure you are getting enough rest, physical activity, and healthy sustenance.

Remember, you are not alone. Reach out if you need support or resources to cope with the loss you are experiencing. There is help.
This article was brought to you by Faith’s Lodge. Faith’s Lodge supports parents and families coping with loss. Learn more by visiting their website: https://faithslodge.org/

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

Join the conversation
You might also like...
More
Access MY free training now

Discipline doesn't have to be a struggle for every parent.

You CAN learn how to discipline consistently without losing your temper or authority. I’m offering a FREE training that will teach you to enforce boundaries, build character in your children, and create a stress-free home.