Helping your child through tragedy
When faced with tragedy, such as the bombing at the Boston Marathon, we turn our attention to our children. We want them to feel safe as well as have the opportunity to process, grieve, and ask questions. Unfortunately, we ourselves feel ill-prepared or unsure at times on how to discuss such a sensitive subject with our little ones. Here are some helpful guidelines to tackle such questions:
- Make sure to pray before any conversation. God is our ultimate counselor and provides wisdom to those who ask for it (James 1:5).
- If your children are in early elementary or younger, consider asking a question such as, “What have you heard regarding what has happened in Boston?” This question will allow you to respond without perhaps giving more information than they have been exposed to.
- For older children, consider sitting down with them and sharing the basic points of what has happened (i.e. There was a bombing in Massachusetts, at the Boston Marathon and 3 people were killed, one a young boy, and hundreds were injured). If they ask questions after this, you can respond to their level of concern.
- Music is soothing and can bring comfort. You may want to make a special CD To play in your car, home, or in your child’s room at bedtime.
- Endeavor to keep normalcy in your daily routine (i.e. children sleeping in their own beds or rooms, attending classes or outside activities, etc.)
- If your child exhibits unusual fear or anxiety over this issue, consider consulting a school or grief counselor. Pray with them and for them, showing them how they can turn to God in difficult times.
- Allowing your child to do something productive or compassionate during this time gives them a sense of empowerment and hope.
- Life and death topics bring up questions of God’s character and what happens after we die. Remember that while we cannot always explain God, we know from Scripture that He is good and loving (1 Jn 4:8), that He allows us a free will and with that some people choose good and other choose evil (1 Pet. 4:1-8). God is always with us and will not leave us alone (Josh. 1:9). On day God will restore all things to Himself and to perfection (Rev. 21), and that because He conquered death, one day we too can receive life with Him in a heaven that He has prepared for us (Jn 14:1-6).
- CCC has the below books to help you in your discussions about life, death, grieving, and heaven. They are available to check out in the library;
Heaven is No a Crying Place by Joey O’Connor
Your Grieving Child by Bill Dodds
Someone I Love Died by Christine Tangvald
When You Lose Someone You Love by Richard Exley
Article by; Tru Ministry