Strategies for parents in times of grief

Posted on: December 16th, 2012

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

The Chilliwack School District offers its sincere condolences to the families, friends, staff and community affected by the tragic event in Connecticut. It is understandable that there may be some anxiety experienced by students regarding this incident. While the potential for such an incident taking place in our schools is very low, we have strong School Safety Alert systems in place and our staff are all up-to-date and vigilant in this respect. 

In light of the incident, parents may find the following useful:

Strategies for parents in times of grief:

Be yourself – Demonstrate your natural concern calmly and in your own words.

Be available – Spend time with your child. Attempt to distract your child by reading, walking, going to a movie, etc.

Listen – Let your child express his/her thoughts, concerns, feelings, and perceptions in a nonjudgmental, emotionally safe environment.

Explain – Talk about what you know in short, truthful statements. Don’t be afraid to admit that you do not have all the answers.

Do not  speculate.  

Develop resiliency – Your child will look to you for reassurance. Do not convey your own feelings of hopelessness, but rather let your child know that they will get through this difficult period.

Provide comfort – Physical and verbal comforts are great healers.

Attend to physical manifestations of trauma -  Children will often complain of headaches, stomach aches, backaches, etc. Monitor physical symptoms such as loss of appetite, anxiety, sleep disturbance, etc. and determine whether medical intervention is required.

Maintain regular routines – As much as possible, attempt to provide normalcy to your child. Humans are creatures of habit and derive comfort from regular routines.

Monitor media exposure – Do not overexpose your child to media reports (especially preschool and elementary age children).

Seek additional support – When appropriate, your child should be directed to community support agencies.