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Raising Children as a Widower or WidowLosing someone close to you is hard no matter what, but the pain is often multiplied when it's your significant other. Whether it was something tragic and unexpected or something you anticipated was coming for a while, it can be very difficult moving on. Things are complicated even further when your spouse has passed at a young age, leaving you to raise the children as a single parent. It can be a huge burden mentally, emotionally, and financially. You may be unsure how you are going to get through. While this is not an easy road, there are some things you can do to help both you and your children get through this difficult time.

Surround Yourself With Family

The first few weeks and months after losing your spouse will be the hardest for everyone. Not only are you coping with your tremendous grief, you also have to be there for your children and learn how to move on. This is why it's important to surround yourself with family as much as possible. In fact, moving in with your parents or having them move in with you can be really helpful. There are several different ways this can benefit you:

  • It gives your children extra people to love on them.
  • It gives you a shoulder to cry on or someone to turn to when you are struggling.
  • They can help you out with chores around the house, with childcare, and perhaps financially.

Even if it's temporary, having your parents or another close family member living with you may help make things a little easier. If this is not possible, then try to visit family as much as you can, and invite them over often. It will be good for you and the kids to be surrounded by as much love as possible.

Seek Counseling

Losing a parent can be traumatic for a child. To have one of the most important people in their lives suddenly gone can be a very difficult thing for children to process. Grief counseling may be a perfect solution to helping your child sort through his or her emotions. There are many strategies the counselor may be able to provide that can help a small child deal with big emotions. Consider grief counseling for yourself, too. Remember that while you have to be strong for your kids, you also have to take care of yourself and sort through your emotions as well.

Stick to Routine

Structure can be really helpful for children who are going through a significant change. Even small things like bedtime routines can help children feel safe and well cared for, even when dealing with a tough loss. Let them set the pace, however, when it comes to becoming involved in school clubs and other activities again. Some children will want to jump right in, while others will want to spend time with family instead. While things like school probably shouldn't be avoided for too long, the extra stuff isn't important if your child doesn't feel like participating for a while.

Ask for Help

You likely have many people who are asking you what they can do. While it's helpful to have people do things like provide meals and help with the housework, your needs may change after a while. Perhaps you need someone you can rely on to pick up your children from school and watch them for an hour until you get home from work. If there is someone who is available to do it and that person has asked how he or she can help, then reach out. He or she will likely be more than happy to help out in this small way.

Losing your spouse has likely brought you unimaginable pain. However, these small things can help you with your grief, and they also may be just what you need to figure out what life looks like after your spouse is gone.

Category: Loss

culture Grief

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