Allow Your Child to Grieve
Spring is a time of celebration. It is the time of year when many families are preparing for proms, graduations, and parties. These are significant milestones that parents and children look forward to for years. Unfortunately, the current health epidemic has led to the cancellation or delay of many of these events, and dealing with a child’s disappointment can be a challenging task for parents. Many parents are wondering how to help their children through these disappointments while also managing their own fears regarding their health, their jobs, and the economy.
If your child is struggling to accept the reality of what has been taken from them, the best thing you can do is listen. While it is easy to downplay the significance of these events, it is important to allow your child the opportunity to grieve. Allow them to feel and express their emotions. Let them know that what they are feeling is normal and let them know you are there to listen. You can also share with them your own emotions regarding missing their events to let them know they are not alone in their disappointment.
Look to the Future
Beyond listening, we can help our children by looking to the future. During trying times, it helps to have something to look forward to. While we cannot promise graduation ceremonies and proms, we can use this time in isolation to plan alternative events to mark these significant milestones. Use this as an opportunity to personalize your child’s celebration. Ask your child to work with you to identify an activity that would be a meaningful way to celebrate their achievements.
As parents, it can be heartbreaking to see our children suffer disappointments. However, this current crisis provides an opportunity. It allows us to show our children that experiencing sadness and disappointment is a part of life. And while we can’t prevent bad things from happening, we can continue to show our love and support for one another as we plan for a more hopeful future.
Kimberly M. LaFollette, PsyD.
Licensed Psychologist, CMHIMP