Rituals to Help Your Child Say Goodbye
Any kind of loss can be painful, even though it’s a natural part of our lives. Even children have to face changes, losses and endings at times. That’s why in this article, we’ll talk about rituals to help your child say goodbye.
Adults usually have personal resources that help them get through hard experiences. In contrast, children may lack the tools they need to process the pain and move on.
Having personal tools to accept loss and change can be helpful in many situations in life. Remember that we don’t say goodbye only when a loved one dies. Abandonment, a change of school or home, or even growing up are daily experiences that require special attention.
Helping our children face these situations will make a big difference to their emotional health. Next, we’ll talk about different rituals to help your children say goodbye.
Why are rituals to say goodbye necessary?
In today’s world, we often get absorbed by obligations and daily chores. Even youngsters suffer from our fast-paced lifestyle. Due to their school obligations, extracurricular activities and homework, children don’t tend to have much free time. If this activity overload is negative for them, imagine how difficult it might be when they have to face important changes in their lives.
In the presence of certain vital situations, it’s important to make a pause and focus our attention on what’s really happening. And this is what happens with any kind of loss. If your children face the death of a loved one, a big change or the end of something meaningful, they’ll need your help to manage their emotions.
Therefore, trying to distract them, diminish the importance of what has happened or deny them the possibility of expressing their feelings will be counter-productive.
In fact, they need space to express their emotions, time to heal and guidance to accomplish those things. Because, what they don’t express stays there, like a tight knot, which is difficult to untie. If you overlook things, they’ll always be there demanding attention. Rituals to say goodbye are powerful, because they help children understand, accept and move on.
What are rituals to say goodbye?
Rituals to say goodbye are activities you can perform whenever you need to put an end to something as you know it, and start something new. They’re useful to say goodbye to a person, a house or even a period in life. Therefore, they symbolize the end of one chapter and a new beginning. They help us process the past and look forward to the future.
For example, when someone dies, we perform certain funeral rituals in order to say goodbye. Notwithstanding, it’s important that children carry out their own personal rituals, where they can get the chance to do whatever they feel to overcome the situation. This will be their chance to manage their emotions in an active way.
Rituals to say goodbye can be very different, and you should use all your creativity and necessary resources. For example, you can make a photo album, write a letter, bury a symbolic object, etc. Anything you come up with can be a good choice. You just have to decide together, plan and organize the ritual. Once you finish it, it’ll be time to move on.
Express your emotions to move on
In conclusion, whatever ritual you choose to perform, it has to mark a before and after point for them. It has to be a time to identify, feel and process emotions properly. In fact, sharing and expressing feelings is what allows families to perform goodbye rituals together. And these activities are quite valuable for children who are beginning to develop their emotional maturity.
So, don’t hesitate to perform these rituals whenever you need to. Remember that any kind of loss or change comes with a grieving stage. And, it’s very good for children to take the necessary time to get through such situations. In the end, this will be the only way to move on without emotional burdens.
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- Rivas Bárcena, R. (2010). Duelo y rituales terapéuticos desde la óptica sistémica. Revista Electrónica de Psicología Iztacala, 11(4). https://www.iztacala.unam.mx/carreras/psicologia/psiclin/vol11num4/Vol10No4Art8.pdf
- Sánchez, E. (2019h, junio 24). Todo adiós debe tener un ritual. Recuperado 29 de noviembre de 2020, de https://lamenteesmaravillosa.com/todo-adios-debe-tener-un-ritual/