Monday, April 28, 2008

Helpful ..Do's and don'ts after the loss of a child


Do let your genuine concern and care show.

Do be available: to listen, to help with other children, or whatever else seems needed at the time.

Do say you are sorry about what happened to their child and about the pain they are experiencing.

Do allow them to express as much grief as they are feeling at the moment and are willing to share.

Do encourage them to be patient with themselves,not to expect too much of themselves, and not to impose any "SHOULDS" on themselves.

Do allow them to talk Do give special attention to the child's brothers and sisters, at the funeral and in the months to come. They too are hurt and confused and in need of attention which their parents may not be able to give them at the time.

Do reassure them that the medical care their child received was the best possible, and/or be positive about anything else you know to be true and positive about the care given their now-deceased child.


Don't let your own sense of helplessness keep you from reaching out to a bereaved parent.

Don't avoid them because you are uncomfortable.Being avoided by friends adds pain to an already intolerable and painful experience.

Don't say you know how they feel unless you've lost a child yourself. You probably don't know how they feel.

Don't say "You ought to be feeling better by now," or anything else that implies a judgment about their feelings.

Don't change the subject when they mention their dead child.

Don't avoid mentioning the child's name for fear of reminding them of their pain. They haven't forgotten it for a moment.

Don't try to find something positive about the child's death.

Don't point out that at least they have another child or children. Children are not interchangeable! They cannot replace each other.

Don't say that they can have another child. Even if they could, or wanted to, another child would not replace the child they have lost.

Don't make any comments which in any way suggest that the care in the home or in the emergency room, hospital, or wherever, was inadequate.Parents are plagued by feelings of doubt and guilt without any help from their family or friends.


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