Father’s Day can be a difficult day for many children grieving the death of their dad or a significant male in their life.
Many people struggle to know what to say to a grieving child. It is through the fear of saying the wrong thing, they often say nothing at all, leaving the child feeling even more isolated and alone.
You may be wondering what the best way is to support grieving children during difficult times. The following tips may be useful this Father’s Day:
- Plan ahead
A reminder that Father’s Day is coming up is a helpful way to begin the conversation around what they want to do for it.
It is important to not assume you know what they will want. What they did last year might be exactly what they want to do again – or they might want to do something completely different. Similarly, some families may like to revisit old traditions, whereas others may like to invent something new for Father’s Day.
- Provide Comfort
By simply taking the time to let a grieving child know that you are there and thinking of them, shows them that they are not alone this Father’s Day.
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.
- Consider different ways to express their feelings
If children don’t want to talk about their grief verbally, conversation and connection can be through drawing, craft, dance, poetry, play, images, and text messages.
Offer your child to write in a journal throughout the day. You might also want to offer your child a forum to connect with other family or friends who knew the loved one and share their memories of them
Father’s Day is an occasion that can bring powerful feelings to the surface. Some of these feelings might be isolation, anger, jealousy, and sadness. Some grieving kids might want to talk about their feelings, whilst others might try to express how they’re feeling through their behaviour.
It is important to listen to them and show them that what they are feeling is valid and completely normal. You might want to give your child ‘permission’ to not be okay, freeing them from expectations. Click here to read our blog on Managing Big Feelings this Father’s Day for more tips.
We asked grieving kids from our Feel the Magic community to share what they would like their friends and family to say to them on Father’s Day. Here is what they said.
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.
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 would like to consider a donation this Father’s Day, please click here.
“Father’s Day is a good day to me, I get to focus on Dad that day. Having him on my mind makes me feel better. In the lead-up to Father’s Day it can be scary, but on an actual day it’s usually really nice. I can feel him around me. I’m going to remember him by visiting a place in the Mountains we liked to go to. It’s a special place for us. To anyone else who has lost their dad, my advice is to use it as a way to dedicate a whole day to the person you love. Keep them on your mind and do things in memory of them.”
Koby, Camp Magic Camper.