How To Talk To A Child About The Death Of A Grandparent


It's a sad reality that grandparents often pass away before they have the opportunity to see their beloved grandchildren grow up. Because the parents may be so deeply in mourning, it can be difficult to focus on the pain that the child is going through in the aftermath of a grandparent's passing. However, it's important for a child to have the opportunity to mourn and express their pain in constructive ways as part of the healing process.

Express Your Own Pain

The best way to teach your child that it is okay to be upset is to express your own pain. Don't hide in the bathroom when you have to cry. It's okay to cry openly and reiterate that crying is a healthy reaction to pain. Talk to your child about what is making you cry. This can also be a teaching opportunity to help kids feel more okay with their own tears. Help the child deal with grief by empowering them to express their emotions throughout the ongoing process of mourning.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

If you try to sit the child down to talk about grief, it can be uncomfortable for both of you. A child may be afraid of expressing sadness or may even feel obligated to falsely emote in an attempt to please you. Instead, let the discussion come up as organically as possible. Try not to put pressure on the child. The best way to get a young person to open up is to patiently ask open-ended questions to help the child consider what they truly think and feel about a situation. Some questions that you may ask during this time is:

  • If you could tell your grandparent anything right now, what would it be?
  • Where do you think your grandparent is now?
  • How did you feel when you received the news that your grandparent passed away?
  • What is your favorite memory of your grandparent?
  • How do you think that funerals help us deal with the passing of loved one?
  • Have you ever known someone who also lost a grandparent?
  • What did you love most about your grandparent?
  • What do you think your grandparent loved the most about you?

When a child responds to these questions, try to follow them up with further questions to encourage them to continue sharing about their thoughts and feelings. These questions can be a great starting point for in-depth discussions.

Talk About the Death Before and After the Funeral

Many children attend their first funeral when a grandparent dies. This can be a significantly emotional event for a child, and it may cause anxiety and sadness. To make the process easier on your child, discuss the following:

  • Be sure to explain exactly what happens during a funeral.
  • Elaborate on the significance of the funeral and why it's important.
  • Talk about proper etiquette that needs to be observed throughout the service.
  • Offer your child suggestions for sensitive things that they can say to others who are grieving. For example, let them know what would be a nice thing to day to their other living grandparent who is now widowed.
  • Let your child know when they should sit or stand throughout the service.
  • Ask about their experience after the funeral is over.

Finally, keep in mind that there is no one formula to make everything okay again. The loss of a grandparent is felt throughout a lifetime. Simply comfort your child by assuring them how much the grandparent loved them and having an ongoing discussion about the feelings of loss that are inevitable during the mourning process. Work with a funeral home, like Brinsfield-Echols Funeral Home.


6 August 2016

Have You Planned for Your Future?

When my father passed away a year ago, my mother didn't have any problems with the funeral or burial. My father planned his funeral in advance. He didn't want to burden my mom with any problems during her time of grieving. That hit me. I realized that I didn't have any plans for my own future, which would make it even harder on my wife and kids. So, I contacted a funeral home online and requested information about burial services. The funeral home provided me with many options that I could afford to pay over time or upfront. My wife also helped select burial plots for us because we didn't want to be separated — even after death. I encourage you to read through my blog. It offers great tips and advice on how to plan for your own future. Don't wait. You never know what life holds for you.