One thing that no parent expects to experience is the loss of their child. However, there are sadly a number of parents who encounter this truly tragic and heartbreaking reality.
If somebody that you know has lost their child, be it a friend or family member, it is important to provide them with the support and care that they need during this truly devastating period in their life.
However, because a situation like this is so rare, it is hard to know what you should and should not do. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
After all, everyone handles grief in a different way, and this is especially the case when someone that you would not expect to die has passed away.
So, how can you help grieving parents?
What not to say to the surviving parents who have lost a child
While it is hard to find the right words, the first thing that you need to do is be mindful of what to say to someone who lost a child.
For example, it is not helpful to suggest that they can simply have another baby or to state that God does not give the person more than they can handle.
The right words are hard to come by but you need to be mindful of what you say
Some people also state that miscarriages are nature’s way of correcting things, which is certainly not something that you should say to a grieving parent who has lost a child or given birth to a stillborn baby.
Don’t forget about the child’s father
While we are on the subject of the different things that you should not do during this difficult time, it’s important to make sure that you do not forget about the father in this situation.
For a number of different reasons, we have a tendency to focus on the loss the mother experiences when a child passes away.
However, it is important to remember that the father has experienced an event in their life that will change it forever and he will need support as well.
Stay out of arguments between parents
In fact, it is not uncommon to see bereaved parents blame one another or argue between themselves when a child has passed away but it is important to make sure that you do not take sides and that you stay out of this.
Remember that it is your role to support the parents but not to join them in a battle.
Be non-judgemental and loving
When you are supporting a bereaved parent who has lost a child, you should try to be non-judgemental and loving.
The most vital thing that you can do is be present and available for your friends or family members when they need you to be.
Being a good listener can be invaluable and it can help the parents to offload their emotions. They may want to discuss what has happened to their child, i.e. how their daughter or son died.
However, if the parent in question does not wish to talk about the child’s death, then you should not judge them nor should you try to push them to speak about it.
Don’t force someone to open up if they are not ready
While it is definitely important to make sure that you do not keep all of your emotions bottled up inside, everyone is on their own timeline when it comes to the journey of grief.
It is important to respect this and not push the grieving person to open up if they are not ready yet to do so.
Nevertheless, you can make sure that the parent is aware that you will be there whenever they do feel ready to speak to you about their lost child, whether this is within a day or two, a week, or even months.
Assist with the memorial service or household chores
One way that you can be productive in terms of helping the parents through this difficult period is by making arrangements and doing any of the chores that may need to be carried out at this time.
As you can imagine, no parent ever plans for the death of their child because we all expect that our child’s life will extend beyond our own life.
Therefore, when a heartbreaking situation like this happens, it is understandable that the vast majority of parents are 100 percent unprepared and do not know what they should do. This is where you can really offer your help and assistance.
You could, for example, take care of helping to plan the memorial or tying up any of the legal elements that need to happen when someone passes away.
On the flip side, you could help with the likes of cooking or cleaning or any other chores that need to be done around the house.
After all, we are sure that the parents in question do not have the appetite to go about their daily routine as they typically would, and so helping in this way can be extremely beneficial.
Offer information on local grief counselors and support groups
In addition to the point that we have mentioned above, it can also be beneficial to locate support groups for parents who are bereaved to help with the grieving process.
You can take a look online today to find out whether there are any support groups in the local area.
Again, this is something that you can suggest an offer but it is not something that you should push.
Everyone has their own timeline and you may find that the parent in question is not ready for this right now but in a week or two they may make the most of the contact details that you have provided them with.
A thoughtful gesture for the deceased child can go a long way
Last but not least, it is a good idea to offer a donation to an appropriate charity or research organization or you may want to send flowers with a note. Thoughtful acknowledgments are always appreciated.
Final words on helping a good friend or family member who has experienced a child’s death
As you can see, there are a number of different ways that you can help parents if they are dealing with the loss of a child. It is important to be there and help them through this difficult period but remember not to judge them and allow them to open up when they feel like they are ready to do so.