Ways to Comfort a Mourning Parent


Comforting parents after the death of a child can be challenging, but the skills necessary to help a bereaved parent can be within our abilities to care and reach out.  The skills include:

  • Acknowledging the family’s loss, their pain and your  sadness about the loss
  • Allowing parents to express themselves without judging them or giving unsolicited advice or suggestions
  • Allowing the parents to cry
  • Allowing yourself to cry
  • Not feeling awkward and speaking when a silence occurs
  • Just being present
  • Saying the name of the child in conversation
  • Avoid using clichés such as “I know how you feel.”  “At least you know they are in a better place.”  Or  “You’re young.  You can always have other children.”
  • Being interested in their stories about the child and their loss
  • Avoiding trying to explain why the loss took place
  • Sharing your fond memories of the child
  • Asking to see pictures of the child
  • Extending gestures of concern
  • Remembering anniversaries and special days  by contacting the parents
  • Including the surviving children in your conversations and in your care for the family
  • Donating a memorial in honor of the child
  • Doing something special for the family without asking or without being asked
  • Respecting the grieving styles and needs of the parents
  • Keep in mind that the parents may not be able to ask for help or be able to tell you just what they need.
  • Giving them time and emotional space to heal.  Be patient.

Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise”  available online at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-LPC-S-Larry-Barber/dp/1613796005 ), Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-never-dies-lpc-s-ct-larry-m-barber-ct-larry-m/1104364890?ean=9781613796016).

The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa” 

Both English and Spanish versions are available for Kindle and Nook. Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX  http://grief-works.org.

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About griefminister

Director, GriefWorks & CounselingWorks Licensed Professional Counselor Certified in Thanatology (Study of Death, Dying & Bereavement) by The Association of Death Education and Counseling Grief Therapist, Educator, Consultant Author-"Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise.'
This entry was posted in Grief Support, Spiritual Health. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ways to Comfort a Mourning Parent

  1. Pingback: Ways to Comfort a Mourning Parent | The World of Pastoral and Spiritual care

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