Following the documentary Being Mum and Dad which featured Rio Ferdinand, Colin Peak, NSPCC Regional Head of Service London and South East, shares this letter, offering advice to parents on how to speak to their children about the loss of a loved one. Ed
Talking to children about grief and loss is difficult for anyone and a recent BBC documentary touched the hearts of millions in its portrayal of one celebrity’s recent personal challenges.
Being Mum and Dad was an emotional insight into Rio Ferdinand’s grief following the death of his wife Rebecca and – as well as highlighting the emotional difficulties faced by anyone following the loss of a partner – it also raised awareness of the challenges of talking to children about the loss of their parent.
Advice from NSPCC
To help parents broach the subject with their children the NSPCC has put together the following advice:
- Consider where and when you’re going to start the conversation and make it relevant. It could be while watching a TV programme featuring the subject you want to talk about. Special story books about loss are also available.
- Encourage them to ask questions and be honest about how you feel too.
- Keep the conversation going by asking them questions. If it does not go as well as you were hoping give it time. They may re-start the conversation with you a few days later.
- Show that you are listening to them and that you value what they are telling you.
- Reassure them by letting them know it is normal to feel upset, scared or worried.
Call the helpline
Parents can get help and advice by calling the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children and young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111.
Having difficult conversations is hard, but it can bring you and your child or children closer together and help you to understand each other a bit more.
Image: © BBC