Posts

Talking to children about loss

Simple DO’s and DON’Ts:

  • DO – Go first. As the adult, you are the leader. 
  • DO – Tell the truth about how you feel. – Telling the truth about your own grief and about how you feel will establish a tone of trust and make your child feel safe in opening up about his or her own feelings.
  • DO – Recognise that grief is emotional, not intellectual and that sad or scared feelings are normal. Avoid the trap of asking your child what is wrong, for he or she will automatically say “Nothing”.
  • DO – Listen with you heart, not your head. Allow all emotions to be expressed without judgement, criticism, or analysis.
  • DO – Remember that each child is unique and has a unique relationship to the loss.
  • DO – Be patient. Don’t force your child to talk. Give your child time. Make sure to plant healthy ideas about talking about feelings.

IMG_2923

 

  • DON’T – Say “Don’t feel scared”. Fear is a common and normal response.
  • DON’T – Say “Don’t feel sad”. Sadness is a healthy and normal reaction. Sadness and fear, the most common feelings attached to loss of any kind, are essential to being human.
  • DON’T – Ask your children how they are feeling. Like adults, fearful of being judged, they will automatically say, “I’m fine”, even though they are not.
  • DON’T – Act strong for your children. They will interpret your “non-feeling” as something they are supposed to copy.
  •  DON’T – Compare their lives or situations to others in the world. Comparison always minimizes feelings.
  • DON’T – Make promises that you cannot keep. Instead of saying “Everything’s going to be okay”, say, “We’ll do everything we can to be safe”.
  • DON’T – Forget that your children are very smart. Treat them and their feelings with respect and dignity as you would like to be treated by others.

 

WHY I do what I do

There are so many ways to pitch your business… But what would happen if I started telling people WHY I’m really in the business I’m in, from the heart? 

That question struck me as I was thinking of sending yet another “sales pitch” mail to all the networks I’m in. Do I want to sound like the current “Newsletter trend” or do I want it to come from the heart? When is it actually OK to speak from the heart without following all the sales pitch rules and formats? Are people going to find me weird if I do?

There is only one way to find out I guess, and that’s putting it to the test!

So WHY I’m in this business of Grief Recovery?

When we lost our firstborn daughter it dawned on me how little help there was for us as parents. We had received excellent medical care for our child, but when she had left us and all the medical equipment had been collected we were standing there with an empty crib, diapers, baby clothes, toys and all the rest of it that comes along with a baby. We now had to arrange all the practical details like organising the funeral, tombstone, documents for flying back to Sweden with an urn, insurance, medical bills having to be clarified etc etc etc.

Having to deal with all of that while in a state of chock and grief was mind boggling. There was no real list of support options presented to us, and I had to muster the energy to look for help myself.

I immediately signed myself up as support parent at the Children’s hospital and the palliative home care team here in Zürich to at least give other parents with the same diagnosis a chance to contact a fellow parent. But what about all the other people being stuck in loss and grief? How could I be there for fellow expats experiencing loss, living far away form their natural support system of family, friends, language and familiarity?

That’s when I decided to do the certification to become a Grief Recovery Specialist. I now work with my passion to help others getting unstuck, feel less alone in their grief and have someone listening to their story. I wake up every day feeling so blessed to be able to do this kind of work, and that our daughter taught me so much about life, death and all the things in between. Like my coach Edson Williams said yesterday, “Karin flipped the script from a bereaved parent to using the loss as an inspiration to help others.” That really warmed my heart.

So that’s WHY I’m doing what I’m doing! I just can’t stand the fact that so many are stuck and limited by their unresolved grief, and if I can just help a handfull of these people it’s worth it! And I just have to trust that the people needing my help will find me, in one way or another. Have a great weekend and start of February!

change