Children may not grieve the same way an adult who truly understands the finality of it does, but they do grieve the loss as they understand it. While an unexpected death will catch everyone off guard, understanding and mourning the loss may be confusing to children. Many times a child will ask very inappropriate questions or make a comment that is anything but sensitive. While it may come across as deliberate the child more than likely was just trying to grasp at understanding while everyone is upset. The sudden onset of visitors, missed meals, long telephone calls and short tempers will confuse your child even more.

During these times if you as the parent are not able to sit down and explain what is going on and truthfully answer questions your child has, no matter how inappropriate, you should appoint a family member a little more removed from the tragedy or a friend whom your child knows well. Taking the time to explain what has happened will help your child to form the appropriate responses as well wishers and grievers stop in. Answering their questions truthfully but age appropriately will help them to come to an understanding of what has really happened. As a parent you should expect them to ask questions in surges. They may only ask what happened to Uncle Mark, and be satisfied with an answer the he died. A day or so may go by when they ask again, what happened and feel they need more of an answer as to how it happened. Children who have losses a mom or dad will have deeper questions and concerns. They may wonder if the other parent will die too. Who will take care of them, or their surviving parent? The child may become very insecure. In the case of losing a parent it is imperative you make sure your child feels secure and comforted. While it is beneficial for the child to see you grieving, you will need to hold back in order to provide the security they need in seeing you able to handle the death. This will help them to grieve and in turn realize that the adults in their life are still in control.

Death is difficult on everyone. When you are a child it is an even more confusing time. Many books have been written to children to help explain in a gentle way what death is and that it is okay to miss and feel sad for the departed. If you know a child that is grieving giving, a small gift and book will help the parents and the child to deal with their grief in a healthy loving way. If you are able, take the child for a peaceful walk, get an ice cream, or sit in the park and let them lead the conversation. Be willing to answer gently and offer many affirmations that they are safe, loved and will be taken care of.

Author's Bio: 

Pam Brown is a writer and contributor for the Grief Resource Center at Planet Gift Baskets, an industry leader in Sympathy Gifts & Sympathy Gift Baskets.