It is essential to immediately establish a support group for your children separate from your own. Children need to know that their own grief is equally important, and they need to feel safe in showing it. Oftentimes, the oldest child will feel the need to be strong for his or her siblings by taking on the adult role that mimics that of the missing parent.
This causes confusion and additional stress that can lead to an inability to deal with the loss. Having an outlet to share his or her sadness in is imperative to healing. Additionally, children may not know how to handle the widowed parent’s grief; allowing them a separate avenue of support will help them learn how to deal with not only the loss of one parent but also the sadness of the other.
Many communities offer grief groups that are specific to children. One of the best options for grief groups is to hold them in school. Connecting children who have lost a parent helps them feel less alone when they are grieving. Seeing other kids, as they go through the same painful situation, creates a bond and new friendships. This connection allows kids the ability to see through others that the level of grief changes over time.
School grief groups are also a great way for the school counselors to begin a one-on-one relationship with your child. Grades may slip, depression may set in, and personality characteristics may change drastically and frequently. A school counselor that is familiar with the situation can watch for these signs and be proactive rather than letting your child slip through the cracks.