Family Holidays Parenting

Parenting and Coping with Grief over the Holidays

Child Grieving

by Angie Schflett

Grief over the loss of a loved one is considered to be a deep and a difficult challenge – regardless of what time of year that it occurs; however, coping with grief over the holidays tends to magnify the overwhelming sense of loss and immense mourning that is experienced. This is especially true when it comes to kids. Gatherings of family members and seasonal-based traditions and events are often considered to be exceptionally painful reminders that our loved one or loved ones are absent from our lives. If your family has recently experienced a loss, it is important that you pull together to comfort one another. In this guide, you will be introduced to a few steps that will aid you in parenting and coping with grief over the holidays.

1. Embrace the Past by Recreating the Present

If you and your family have endured a loss this holiday season, it is important to know and understand that the adjustments associated with your loss will be exceptionally difficult for everyone involved. Each family gathering, each family tradition will remind all of you of the absence of your loved one; however, instead of focusing on the loss, try to focus on the memories that you have of your loved one and find comfort in one another. You must commit to embrace the past, and recreate the present. You must overcome the expectations of what the holidays should be and recreate what they are now that your loved one has passed on. Simply acknowledge the loss and express appreciation for all of the time that you had with your loved one or loved ones. Then, work to create new traditions and gatherings that involve those that are still living. Honor the deceased while celebrating the living. This is the absolute best way to embrace the past and recreate the present. By taking this step, the future will be brighter for you and your kids.

2. Accept the Inevitable

Despite the fact that the holidays are considered to be a joyous and exciting time, it is inevitable that you and your loved ones will experience anger, sadness, and despair. You must accept the inevitable. Regardless of age, no one should be expected to ignore the feelings that they have simply because the holidays are in full swing. You should not judge, nor should anyone judge you for feeling how you feel. Even if you feel a sense of joy due to the season, do not feel guilty. Remember, your loved one or loved ones would not want you to experience any negative emotion around the holidays; however, if you do, it is acceptable and to be expected. Simply accept the inevitable when suffering through grief. That is, you will experience a vast array of emotions and that is completely acceptable.

3. Connect with Others

The holiday season is a wonderful time to connect with others in a generous manner. Each year, we teach our kids that it is better to give than to simply receive. By giving yourself to others and encouraging your kids to do the same, you will find that it is much easier to cope with the grief that you are experiencing as a result of your loved one’s passing. You should spend time with others and nurture the relationships that you have with others. You should determine how to give your time and your talents to others. Sharing yourself and connecting with others are wonderful ways to ease the burden of your loss and lift your spirits while coping with a loss during the holidays. In addition to providing you with a unique sense of joy and happiness, connecting with others is a fantastic way to memorialize the loved one or loved ones that have recently passed.

4. Simplify Holiday Events

As you and your kids cope with the loss of a loved one or the loss of more than one loved one during the holidays, it is imperative that you work to simplify the events of the season. You should not expect yourself to do all that you typically do in the past, or, expect your children to do so, either. Simply sit down together and decide which activities you are up for and which activities you are not. Not only will this allow you to determine which traditions hold personal meaning for you, it will allow you to determine which events you have taken part in because of the expectations of others throughout your lifetime. Once you have determined how you will simplify events for the holidays, you should express this to your loved ones so that they know what to expect from you and how to help you, if any help is required. You must first your family’s needs and wants above everyone else’s needs and wants as you work through grief in and around the holiday season.

5. Be Generous for and with Yourself

While it is likely that your main focus is on your kids and how well they are coping with their grief, it is important to ensure that you are generous with and for yourself during the holiday season. Allow yourself to feel what you feel. Do not block these emotions out to be strong for someone else. Do not get so wrapped up in the holidays that you forget your loved one that has passed or forget yourself. You should allow yourself to experience some degree of happiness during the holidays. Know that your loved one or loved ones would have wanted that. Our unique capacity to experience joy is, truly, what connects us to each other during the holidays and what makes the holidays so exciting. Loss is never easy; however, in dealing with loss, we should be certain that we do not lose ourselves. By following the tips and strategies contained in this comprehensive guide, you will find that parenting and coping with grief through the holidays is not as challenging as it may seem, initially.


Angie ShiflettAngie Shiflett is a professional writer that focuses on writing on an assortment of topics. Currently, her passion is homeschooling. She has been homeschooling her children through The Connections Academy for two years now. Both her and her husband are able to remain at home with their children in order to educate them. They place a high emphasis on family, and dedication to the importance of a proper education.

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