Ways to Help Your Daughter Through This Difficult Time-
Handout for Parents
- It is important to offer support by listening. Let them tell their story. Sometimes they are upset but they cannot tell you what would be helpful. Give them the time and encouragement to talk and share their feelings with you may enable them to sort out their own feelings.
- They may show their grief as numbness and shock, confusion, withdrawal, crying, feeling of emptiness, anger and frustration, exhaustion, may appear not to care about the death.
- Try not to judge what they have to say. Let them know that there is no right way to feel, we all grieve in different ways.
- Try not to dismiss their concerns, patronise or assume you know what is best for them. Give them choices whenever possible and allow them to express their grief in their own way.
- Pay extra attention, spend extra time with them, be more nurturing and comforting. Reassure them of their own ability to cope.
- Adolescence may be deeply affected by the death of someone they admire eg musician, teacher, actor .Tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand and help them.
- Be prepared for mood swings. Don’t take their anger or other feelings personally. Help them to understand the relationship between anger and trauma. Help them find safe ways to express their feelings e.g. by drawing, exercise, or talking
- Help them to understand that defiance, aggression and risk behaviour is a way to avoid feeling the pain, hurt and or fear they are feeling.
- Do maintain appropriate routines, structures and boundaries.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about the person who has died, An important part of the healing process is remembering.
- Share your own experience of being frightened of something and getting through it.
- If they are feeling guilt or shame, emphasise that they did not choose for this to happen that they are not to blame. Even if they were angry with the person who died, or had been mean to them, this did not make it happen
- Help your daughter to identify and use the support of others outside the family. Don’t feel left out if they seem to value their friends more than their parents
Work with the school support services and other available services.