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NU.nl submits a parenting question to an expert or expert by experience every week.
This week: am I taking my kids to their grandfather's funeral?
The relationship of a child to the deceased is often a determining factor, says grief therapist Janet Schmidt.
“Grandpas and grandmas are increasingly intertwined with their children's families. For example, they take the children out of school every day. to involve in the farewell. "
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But the stability of the family can also play a role in the decision.
"What does the loss of your father do to you as a parent? If you lose control of your emotions, the basic safety of your children can be compromised. Of course you can be sad and cry, but getting upset is not good. In In that case it may be better to keep young children at home. But the best thing is if you take children with you to the funeral. "
“First acknowledge your own feelings.
Your child loses his grandfather, but you say goodbye to your father. ”
Janet Schmidt, grief therapist
First your feeling
How do you explain that grandpa is gone?
"First acknowledge your own feelings," advises the grief therapist.
"Your child loses his grandfather, but you say goodbye to your father. What does death do to you? If you first look at that loss, then you can consciously step into your parenting role and start a conversation with your child."
Tune the conversation to the child's world, Schmidt suggests.
"Explain that the body no longer works. Make it as concrete as possible: Grandpa can no longer walk, sing or feed the ducks."
In conversations with children, Schmidt often uses materials to make death more concrete.
"For example, with a balloon you can show the difference between the body and the soul. The balloon is the body, the soul is inside. If the air flows out of the balloon, the balloon cannot do anything anymore, while the air remains everywhere. But that explanation, of course, depends on the religion or belief of the parents. "
Don't wait for questions, but provide as much information as possible.
"Does your child have questions that you cannot answer? Put the question back: what do you think?"
"Agree to both think about it and get back to it. Adults don't know everything either. But they don't have to. And children can sometimes come up with surprising insights."
Miss Julia tells Kek Mama about the deceased mother of pupil Mylou.
Involve children in the farewell
Is your child going to the funeral?
Make sure you are well prepared, the grief therapist advises.
"Tell grandpa that he looks different, that his body has gotten cold. Ask a friend to explain the events ('those men will be carrying the coffin') and to take your children with them if it gets too much, so that you can take your You can keep your attention while saying goodbye. And give children a role that is appropriate for their age, for example by having them put a flower on the coffin or recite a poem.
According to the grief therapist, it is especially important in a loss that you keep talking, take children seriously and teach them how to deal with grief.
"Life is not always fun. If you hide that from children, then they have nothing to fall back on when they experience something drastic. A funeral is a great time to share memories as a family and to feel that you belong together. The atmosphere. can be very loving, despite the grief. A child can derive resilience from that. "