How to Continue Parenting after Child Loss: 8 Tips from a Grieving Mom
Updated: Feb 15
Parenting is HARD…but parenting after child loss is much HARDER.
We all lost our children in different ways and at different ages, so I can't speak to all situations. However, I can share my experience of parenting a teenaged boy after his sister died.
How do you take care of yourself, grieve the deep pain of losing your child, yet be present and effectively parent your other children?
I made the decision early on in my grief journey that as a family we would pick up the pieces despite the devastation and we would learn to be a family of three, even though there would always be someone missing.
I felt that my then-15-year-old son deserved a plugged in mom. He needed someone who believed in him and who could support him through the worst part of his life and I wanted him to have a stable home.
Attempting to control all aspects of your surviving child’s life is a common characteristic seen in most bereaved parents. We become hyper-aware of what CAN happen. Often we are sick with worry and try to protect our surviving kids from anything and everything. However, the long term impact of over-protectiveness on surviving siblings is associated with poor self-esteem and problematic mental health as per studies conducted by Sheffield university.
Alternatively, bereaved parents can become lenient. We may feel incapable of parenting or just don’t want our surviving children to miss out on anything, so we let them do whatever they like. Or, we may flip-flop between strict and lenient which leaves our kids confused.
No matter their age, kids look to their parents for guidance, especially when something happens that they have no experience in. They learn to grieve by watching us grieve.
Tips to parent your surviving children after the loss of a child: 1. Taking good care of yourself is important for both you and your children. Researchers have found that bereaved parents who are less depressed are better able to provide the care their children need.