Coping (or rather not!) with a tween’s grief

I feel like I’ve been winded. My tummy feels tight.

I am crying. The tears started and didn’t stop. The happy feeling dissolved.

My heart hurts and I don’t know which way to turn. How to act for the best.

An argument with my 11-year-old daughter caused this. I have to write – I really have nothing else.

I’d said something fairly subtle about finding happiness again and she jumped down my throat.

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How do you discipline a grieving child?

The title of this post might seem odd. Perhaps it should read ‘How could you…?’ Why would you discipline a child who was grieving for a lost friend or relative (in our case sibling) and recovering from the trauma of that loss when all they need is love, understanding and security?

We feel we are as fair as possible with our discipline methods. We try to give our children freedom to be themselves within a stable home environment. We’re certainly no experts and of course as children grow and change so do the discipline methods, but over the years I’ve come to realise that discipline is different in every family so I no longer worry that we’re doing it ‘wrong’.

We try to lead by example as we’ve noticed that when we are ‘well behaved’ our children are too, but when we’re too tired to care (which happens perhaps just as often) their behaviour follows suit … to go ‘off routine’ is a risky move which almost always ends in disruption. We aim to teach them the basics such as good manners and the importance of taking responsibility for their actions, but they’ve all been so different in personality that we’ve had to adapt our approach to suit each child. For example, one gets upset at being shouted at and would rather things were explained, the other prefers a quick blast of order and is usually happy to move on.

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Counting your blessings after the death of your child

At times in the past year, I’ve heard it suggested that at least we have our other children to keep us going. It’s never said to mean that Abi’s death was any less distressing, but as a way to comfort and reassure.

I’ve often thought this myself too. When I feel mournful, I consider how it’s my two children needing me that gets me out of bed, that stops me feeling too sorry for myself and gives me a reason to live on. But it’s a constant struggle between the despair of my loss and being ‘thankful for my lot’.

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