5 Ways to Talk to a Grieving Child on Father's Day

5 Ways to Talk to a Grieving Child on Father’s Day

For many families in our community, Father’s Day can be a difficult milestone. And for many others, they can struggle to know what to say to a grieving child.

Often, because they fear saying the wrong thing, or don’t even know what to say, they say nothing at all.

We want to change that and help children and adults give grieving kids the support they deserve.

Helpful tips for talking to a grieving child

We’ve put together this guide 5 Ways to Talk to a Grieving Child on Father’s Day (as recommended by grieving kids!) to help your child or a friend who misses their Dad.

It doesn’t always have to be with words, a simple text message can make all the difference.

By simply taking the time to let grieving kids know you are there and thinking of them, you can prove they are not alone this Father’s Day.

In the next couple of weeks, we’d also like to invite you, your family and friends to join our movement – #LetsTalkFathersDay.

Building a community of support

We hope to build communities of support for grieving kids, by giving the wider public the confidence to reach out and support them.

It’s also a chance for grieving kids to share how they’d like people to support them around Father’s Day – whether that be through sharing memories, building new traditions, or maybe the opposite – not talking about Father’s Day too much at all. 

Follow us on socials in the coming days and join us to create a movement that helps grieving kids feel safe to talk about their Dad. 

If you’re supporting a bereaved child or know one, you may find our article How to support a grieving child on Father’s Day helpful. It explores the importance of social support as an important aspect of encouraging post-traumatic growth in young people.

You may also find this article ‘Supporting Children & Teens Through Grief Anniversaries and Significant Events’ useful to help support a child or teen through significant milestones.

How to support a grieving child on Father’s Day

Father’s Day can be a difficult day for many children grieving the death of their dad or a significant male in their life.

For many others, they can struggle to know what to say to a grieving child. From fear of saying the wrong thing, they often say nothing at all, leaving the child feeling even more isolated and alone.

We want to help you change that.

Give your support to grieving kids

Evidence shows social support is an important aspect of encouraging ‘post-traumatic growth’ in young people who have experienced the death of a parent or guardian.

Talking with grieving kids about their loved one and their grief is important.

Post traumatic growth is shown through positive psychological changes to their beliefs, self-esteem, and identity, following highly difficult life events. Having opportunities to express their grief is important.

Remember that you don’t need to take away their grief and pain, you just need to hold space for it and let children know that all emotions and responses are valid.

Research, and our own experience of supporting grieving children through our evidence-informed programs, have shown the positive effect on wellbeing of talking with grieving kids.

It doesn’t always have to be with words.

If children don’t want to talk about their grief verbally, conversation and connection can be through things like symbols, drawing, craft, dance, poetry, play, images and text messages.

Grieving children often feel isolated from their friends and community. Others around them may not have experienced bereavement and loss like they have. They can feel detached and alone, especially on significant days like Father’s Day.

Many of us don’t know how to support grieving children during difficult times like Father’s Day.

We asked kids from our Feel the Magic community what they would like their friends and family to say to them on Father’s Day.

Here is their advice on how to talk about their dad (spoiler: they want to be included!), plus we share some of our tips: ‘5 Ways to Talk to a Grieving Child on Father’s Day’.

If you are supporting a bereaved child or know one, there is help available and a community who understand what you are going through.

You may find this article ‘Supporting Children & Teens Through Grief Anniversaries and Significant Events’ useful to help support your child or teen.

Our mission at Feel the Magic is to ensure grieving kids, families and their friends have the support and resources to help them feel and heal through their grief.

Our Grief Resource Hub has guides, activities, books, videos and TED talks you may find helpful.

We have a range of face to face and virtual camps, so we can help grieving kids heal – no matter where they are.

If you need guidance, you are welcome to make an appointment to chat to one of the team. Or join our team at one of our monthly information sessions to learn more about programs, camps and resources.

References

Auman, M. J. (2007). Bereavement Support for Children. The Journal of School Nursing, 23(1), 34–39. https://doi.org/10.1177/10598405070230010601

Metel, M., & Barnes, J. (2011). Peer-group support for bereaved children: a qualitative interview study. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 16(4), 201–207. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-3588.2011.00601.x

Wolchik, S. A., Coxe, S., Tein, J. Y., Sandler, I. N., & Ayers, T. S. (2009). Six-Year Longitudinal Predictors of Posttraumatic Growth in Parentally Bereaved Adolescents and Young Adults. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying58(2), 107–128. https://doi.org/10.2190/OM.58.2.b

FTM C-19 response update #13: 6/July

There seems to be light at the end of the C-19 tunnel! Let’s hope that everyone continues to do the right thing and that the easing of restrictions doesn’t create a new wave of virus infections.

Please see short video message and a summary of points below:

  1. What’s ahead with our Programs in 2020 (Oct-Dec 2020)
  • We continue to follow social gathering restrictions set by the Government
  • However, we are planning for programs to return in Oct-Dec in some capacity
  • We will provide the return to programs plan by early August (next update)
  1. New program coming – Magic Quarterly’s
  • The team have continued to implement our online Healthy Grieving Program whilst also developing a new program concept aimed at the whole family – a day Camp concept called Magic Quarterly’s
  • We are aiming to trial the Magic Quarterly’s in the Oct-Dec 2020 period and again will provide further details in the August update
  1. Healthy Grieving Program
  • The feedback on our new Healthy Grieving Program has been fantastic and thank you to the families who piloted the program and the families who have participated in the program so far
  • A quote from a new Feel the Magic parent who participated in the program which, for me, articulated perfectly why we exist as an organisation:

“We thought we had to just “be ok” with our new normal. The program has helped us to realise that we are allowed to be happy again and that being happy doesn’t mean we have forgotten him.  We still have tough times, but by using the tools from the program we are now working through our emotions as they come up, so the tough times are slowly changing from tough whole days where we felt stuck, to tough moments that pass once we acknowledge them. This is a real growth point for us.”

I look forward to updating you again in August and please ensure if you need help or support from the team, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Please continue to stay safe and look out for the communities around you.

Kind Regards

Adam Blatch

Chief Operating Officer

Feel the Magic

newsletter

FTM C-19 response update #12: 26 May

Good afternoon everyone

There seems to be light at the end of the C-19 tunnel! As we are now starting to see restrictions lift, more and more people are going to school, work and accessing the public spaces and places. Let’s hope that everyone continues to do the right thing and that the easing of restrictions doesn’t create a new wave of virus infections.

For Feel the Magic, we’ve again had to make the difficult decision to cancel our July and August camps. The venues are not operational yet and along with the unknown timeframe of further restrictions being lifted, we now cannot be ready in time to hold these scheduled Camps.

Please see short video message and a summary of points below:

  1. Cancellation of Camps – April to August 2020
  • The cancellation of Camps from April through to August means those families who have applied will have priority for Camp spots when we return to Camp Magic
  • Our aim is still to hold Camp Magic in 2020 across various locations pending how C-19 unfolds
  • The Programs team we will communicate to all families who were scheduled to attend July/August Camps with an offer to participate in the Healthy Grieving Program and check in for what other support you may need
  1. Communicating the weekly update
  • We have now moved passed two big decision points for Camps in 2020 and whilst we now wait for changes to Government restrictions, we will slow down the weekly update to be monthly (unless something urgent or pressing arises)
  • During this period, we will continue to first and foremost offer our Healthy Grieving Program to those who missed out on Camp Magic from April-August and keep you updated on changes for returning to Camp in 2020.
  1. Healthy Grieving Program
  • The feedback on our new Healthy Grieving Program has been fantastic and thank you to the families who piloted the program and the families who have participated in the program so far
  • We are continuing to roll the program out providing grief support to bereaved children and equally important, to the families. The program aims to provide support to the whole family and this is resonating with our families so far.

I look forward to updating you again in June and please ensure if you need help or support from the team, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Please continue to stay safe and look out for the communities around you.

Kind Regards

Adam Blatch

Chief Operating Officer

Feel the Magic

FTM C-19 response update #11: 19 May

Good afternoon everyone

Happy National Volunteers Week! From the Feel the Magic team, we would like to say a big Thank You to all our wonderful volunteers. We are extremely grateful for your support and dedication to ensuring together we are helping grieving children.

Earlier today, I was fortunate to interview Luke Robinson, a wonderful Camp mentor who has been volunteering since 2018 and who has volunteered at seven Camps! Please see the video interview below and hope you enjoy my shared experience with Luke talking about his Camp Magic experience (the interview and thank you message goes for six minutes).

What else this week:

  • We had our first Healthy Grieving Program last week! A tremendous effort to create a new program and have it gone live within such a short timeframe
  • A big thank you to our donors – without your help and contributions, we would not have been able to continue to work through this period and create the new program (and other new initiatives in the works).

I look forward to updating you again next week but, as always, please ensure if you need help or support from the team, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Please continue to stay safe, stay home, look out for the communities around you.

Kind Regards

Adam Blatch

Chief Operating Officer

Feel the Magic

Mother’s Day Special on The Project

We are truly overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from the special Mother’s Day story that went to air on The Project on Channel 10. Hayden, Aimee and Arabella spoke so beautifully of their mothers and showed the true meaning of resilience in the face of such cruel adversity. Just as touching was witnessing the vulnerability from presenters Lisa Wilkinson and Peter van Onselen. We’ve been advised that close to a million viewers have seen this clip since going to air and this number continues to grow thanks to the power of social media!

This story struck a chord with many Australians, we ask you to please continue to share amongst your networks and together highlight the importance of early intervention of childhood grief and loss.

Thank you once again to every single person involved, especially the starts of the show Hayden, Aimee and Arabella.