When children are grieving, it's only natural to feel extremely protective of them. After all, loss is a hard concept for adults to grasp, so it can seem unreasonable to expect kids to handle the many complexities of losing a loved one. However, sometimes life presents children with losses they simply must face. If you are caring for children who have lost a parent or other very close loved one, they may want to have some input about things like headstone choices. Consider these tips for handling this difficult request.
Offer Children Multiple-Choice Decisions
Kids who express an interest in helping with final plans should be encouraged. However, this can get tricky. A young child who wants to put rainbow art and a cheerful quote on a headstone would probably grow to regret such a decision over time. Anticipate potential problems by presenting kids with multiple-choice options. That way, you know any choice the child can make will be acceptable, and kids still get the satisfaction of feeling involved with major decisions.
Remind Children of What the Loved One Most Enjoyed
The multiple-choice route may not work for all families. So, when you first start to discuss headstone choices, remind children of the things your loved one most enjoyed. Getting kids thinking about the more serious things the person appreciated can help them get a better sense of what they should realistically focus on for the headstone.
Be Prepared to Say No in a Gentle Way
If you anticipate that children may make questionable choices for the gravestone, be prepared to say no in a gentle way. Children simply aren't mature and experienced enough to have the final say about this. If you have to say no, do so gently. You may use the sandwich technique where you first praise the child for the choice in some way. Next, tell them that their preference won't work, and then offer them a similar but stronger choice.
Seek the Help of a Counselor
No matter how much support you are offering to children while they are faced with a major loss, counseling is always a good idea. If you're going to family therapy sessions, it's a good idea to talk about making the headstone choices in a counseling session. The grief counselor will be able to help children process the difficult emotions that may come up as they try to grasp the finality of the loss and the symbolism of the gravestone choices.
Finally, children may be able to articulate what they want to say about their lost loved one, but it will need to be filtered before you make final decisions. Little ones may sometimes act like miniature adults, especially in times of loss, but they are still just kids. They will need continued support and help every step of the way. Reassure children that everything is going to be okay while allowing room for the complex, difficult feelings that are sure to come and go along the way.
For more information on what types of headstones are available, contact a company like Maurice Moore Memorials.Share
30 April 2019