对于失去亲人的孩子来说,节日是一年中特别难过的时候. 这篇文章分享了一些我们的研究伙伴/悲伤专家给父母和照顾者的建议.

For most children and families, the holiday season is a happy time that they look forward to all year. 但在经历了亲人的去世后,节日聚会可能会变得特别困难. Being around people, places, 或者让人想起死者的情况会让死者家属在情感上感到痛苦, including both parents and children. 成为失去亲人的父母尤其具有挑战性,因为这涉及到处理你自己的悲伤反应,同时也管理你的孩子的悲伤. Based on our work with bereaved families and recent research findings, 这份提示单提供了一些建议,告诉父母和其他看护人如何帮助他们失去亲人的孩子应对假期. 虽然一些建议一开始可能看起来势不可挡(尤其是如果你最近失去了某人), trying each suggestion out,one by one, can help both parents and their kids.

1. Understand that family members grieve differently.

Different family members can, and usually do, grieve in different ways. Bereaved children often experience a wide range of reactions to the holidays. Some want to talk a lot about the death and how much they miss the deceased person, and others may not want to talk at all. Some kids may be extremely sad and tearful, while others may not show much emotion. 当考虑孩子如何悲伤时,要记住,没有正确或错误的方式去悲伤. 我们的研究表明,作为父母,你能做的最有帮助的事情就是确认孩子的感受,在他们需要你的时候出现在他们身边. For example, you might say:

  • “我们有时可能会用不同的方式表达悲伤,但我们都在一起."
  • "This is not an easy time of year for us, but I'll do my best to be there for you."
  • "I want to be the most helpful I can be. If you feel like talking, I'm all ears. If you just want a hug or to have a good cry, that's OK too. You can decide what will help you the most."

2. It's not so much what you say, but how you say it.

父母可以用强有力的方式交流,不用说一句话,只要通过他们的肢体语言. 失去孩子的父母可能会担心在恰当的时间说恰当的话, especially during the holidays. 知道父母对孩子说了什么并不重要,重要的是他们怎么说,这是一种解脱. Supportive parenting behaviors can help children to grieve in adaptive ways. These behaviors share a common theme: I am here for you when you need me. They include:

  • parental warmth, caring, or kindness;
  • hugging or other forms of physical affection;
  • smiling;
  • listening attentively and enthusiastically to what your child is sharing;
  • enjoying your child's company, even if you're going through a difficult time;
  • maintaining good eye contact

这些行为可以帮助孩子在假期中感到更轻松, when they may be facing powerful reminders of the loss.

Bereaved children are often very "tuned in" to the emotions of their surviving parent. 他们可能会担心谈论已故的人会让他们爱和关心的人难过, especially during the holidays. For this reason, 孩子们可能会避免谈论死者,以保护他们的父母免受进一步的痛苦. 父母能够表现出(包括通过肢体语言)对孩子对逝者的想法和感受的真正兴趣,这可以减少孩子的痛苦,并促进与逝者的积极联系.

It's OK to be sad in front of your children.

失去亲人的父母在处理假期中自己的悲伤反应的同时,还要设法处理他们的孩子的悲伤反应,这是一项极其困难的工作. 失去亲人的父母有时会担心表现出自己的悲伤或悲伤会让孩子难过. We've learned that it's important for children to see that their parentsare human, too. By allowing your child to see you feeling sad (or even crying), it sends the message that it is OK and normal to be sad after a loved one dies, and that crying is a natural reaction to missing someone you love. Children can sometimes assume that theyhave done something wrong if you become upset. It can be helpful to reassure them and teach them about grief, by saying something like:

  • "Sometimes I may get upset when we're planning our holiday celebrations without Dad, because I really miss him. It's normal to feel sad and itcan help us feel better to cry and let it all out."

Provide opportunities for kids to feel connected to their deceased love one

假期往往是孩子们真正怀念逝者的时候,他们可能会觉得与逝者更疏远, especially if the death occurred a long time ago. 如果父母准备好了,为他们的孩子提供机会,让他们与逝者有更多的联系,这是很有帮助的. This can include sharing stories about the deceased person, looking at pictures, holding his or her favorite things, or reading his or her letters. 在节日期间安排一个特别的时间来分享人们可能在追悼会上说过的话也可能会有帮助, or afterward, that help to honor the deceased's memory. For example, you might say:

  • "Is there anything you'd like to do during the holidays to remember _____?"
  • "Dad loved apple pie. Maybe we can make one for the holidays in his honor."
  • "I've been going through some of mom's things. Is there anything of hers you'd like to keep for yourself or wear during the holidays? You can put it in a safe place and only bring it out when you want to."
    宗教或精神上的家庭可能会发现分享那些经常能安慰孩子的信仰是有帮助的.g., Dad is your guardian angel and is watching over you; Mom can still be here with us in spirit during the holidays). 这些讨论可以帮助孩子们与逝者更亲近,减少他们的分离痛苦.

Take good care of yourself.

在你死后照顾你的孩子最好的方法之一就是好好照顾你自己,并得到你需要的支持. 父母常常担心如何照顾他们的孩子,并确保他们的假期是一个快乐的时间, that they forget to care for themselves. Getting the support you need is just as critical as caring for your child. It not only helps ensure that you will be ready and able to help your child, but it's an ideal time to model good self-care—including asking for help if you need it. Adequate sleep, going for walks or other exercise, and proper eating can go a long way towards keeping you physically and mentally healthy. 重要的是要知道,这通常有助于孩子们以正常的方式看到成年人的悲伤, such as expressing sadness and sharing that they are missing the person. On the other hand, 无法控制地哭泣或无法完成简单的日常任务,这些迹象表明你可能需要额外的支持,应该寻求帮助.

Keep an eye out for signs that professional help may be needed.

大多数失去亲人的儿童和青少年适应了他们的“新常态”,继续过着富有成效和健康的生活. Some grief-related distress is entirely understandable and expectable, and can often intensify during the holiday season. For example, children often have fantasies about seeing the deceased person again, especially during the holidays. Their mood can also fluctuate from feeling happy and laughing one moment, 到极度思念他们所爱的人,下一分钟就想哭(比如前一分钟享受爸爸最喜欢的甜点), and then feeling sad that dad isn't there to enjoy it the next). It is helpful to give children time and space to grieve, 并且相信,随着时间的推移,这些对失去的提醒会变得不那么痛苦,而更令人欣慰. However, 很重要的一点是,要密切关注那些可能表明需要跟随心理健康专业人士进行更深入评估的行为. These behaviors include:

  • An inability to keep up with daily tasks, such as going to school, completing homework assignments, or maintaining adequate personal hygiene.
  • Intense sadness, tearfulness, lethargy, or social withdrawal that persist for at least six months after the death.
  • Reckless or risky behaviors (drug use, drunk driving, stealing, reckless driving, etc.).
  • Inability to talk about the death, or appearing numb, emotionless, or disconnected from the reality of the death.
  • Expressing the wish to hurt oneself, even if it is in an attempt to be reunited with the deceased in an afterlife.

Balance cherishing memories of the past with making new memories for the future.

Although the holidays can be a difficult time for bereaved families, 父母可以帮助他们的孩子记住和尊敬他们死去的亲人,同时创造新的, meaningful holiday memories. Thoughtful balancing of comforting holiday traditions with open, honest discussions and new celebratory activities can help reduce distress, help children feel connected to their deceased loved one, and encourage a positive outlook towards the future as you enter the New Year.

  • 庆祝逝者在世时与他们分享的传统(比如看他们最喜欢的电影或玩他们最喜欢的游戏)是很有帮助的。, 同时也创造了一种积极的新传统(比如尝试一部新电影或玩一款新游戏).