Posted in Grief, Joy, parenting

Loss comes for our children too…

About a month before Ben died, I remember sitting at church and one of the kids saying, “I get worried that daddy is going to die.”  It was an unexpected comment as Ben was with us at church and seemed to be doing really that morning. 

I only thought about it for a minute, and then said, “I know I worry about that too.  But you know what?  We can pray that God gives us as much time as possible together and no matter what we know that one day we will all be together in heaven.”

I could have replied differently.  I could have told them not to worry, that daddy wouldn’t die because I really didn’t expect him too.  But I didn’t say that.  And I definitely did not know then what I do now about preparing kids for loss and trauma.  

Here is what I know now. No one is immune to loss, not even kids. Kids lose toys, friends, relationships, home, security, you name it. And to them that loss may seem as monumental as losing a parent. AND how we help them walk through those losses carries over into how they handle breakups, loss, and trauma for the rest of their lives.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” When we teach children how to process grief and pain at a young age, we give them tools for success as adults in handling their emotions and the losses that are bound to come. 

So here are some of the things that I have learned:

  1. Don’t tell them not to feel bad. Always validate their feelings. If they are hurting, it is valid, and they need to voice it. Listen and let them share. We do not tell people not to feel happy about something, so why would we tell them not to feel sad?
  2. Do not make them hide their emotions.  When we send them to their rooms, or tell them to calm down when they are crying, we are telling them it is not okay to share how they are feeling with others!  We want them to openly share how they are feeling so they feel heard and understood!  Sit with them in their pain and let them cry and feel all the emotions.  Emotions that we do not feel, we cannot heal.  Teach them to lean on others when it hurts instead of always burying things inside. 
  3. Don’t replace the loss.  Coming from someone who eats their emotions… this one is big for me.  I try not to feed my kids to make them feel better.  When we lose or break something we talk about it.  Often people think that immediately replacing something will make the pain go away.  Speaking from someone who heads to the freezer when sad and overwhelmed, I know for a fact this one is truth.  We rush into new relationships as soon as one fails.  I do not want to train my kids that there are “more fish in the sea.” Otherwise, when they are older and suffer a breakup, they will think the best way to fix it is with another relationship! 

We still talk about losing their dad every single day. We include him in our nightly prayers, and they frequently tell me how they miss him being with us. If one day I’m lucky enough to bring someone else into their lives who wants to stay, that person will play a significant role, but they will know he doesn’t intend to replace their dad. People are uniquely valuable, and not replaceable!

  1. Time does not heal all wounds. Just because they are not talking about it or because enough time has passed does not mean it is forgotten or no longer important.  We can not ignore something and assume it will get better eventually. The only thing that truly heals is actively working towards healing!  
  2. Don’t let them own your emotions.  Kids know that they can sway our moods.  They can make us happy or sad depending on how they are behaving.  When we say “you make me so frustrated” they start believing that they control your moods.  This is dangerous territory.  I know because I have walked it as an adult, feeling responsible for the feelings of those who I am in relationships with. Teach them to own how they are feeling.  “I am frustrated because the house is a mess.”

This list is not exhaustive. There are so many other things I have learned (and am still learning) about parenting kids through grief and loss. If you are like me and want to prepare your kids for success as adults in managing loss, I highly recommend looking at the book, When Children Grieve by John W. James and Russell Friedman, which shares many of these points and more!


Posted in Book Reviews, Joy, parenting

Five of the Most Inspiring Books I Read in 2022

It’s been awhile since I did a book review… not because I haven’t been reading… mostly because I have been too busy reading to take time to share.  But some of the books I have read recently really deserve a shout out and were so inspiring I couldn’t keep them to myself!  Check these out and if you are looking for a good Christmas gift for someone on your list, any one of these would be a great choice. 

Please note that affiliate links are provided for each.  If you choose to purchase through the link a portion of the sale will come back to this website!

The Men We Need by Brant Hansen

Let me start by saying I recently heard a podcast by Hansen. I heard him speak and thought him a phenomenal speaker with an empowering story. Obviously this title sounds like it lends itself to a book not really intended for an audience of women. But I am a mom who wants her son to grow up as a man of godly character. These books speak to this single mom! Hansen writes a compelling book about the role of a man in families, society, and in the workplace. He discusses the importance of them fulfilling their calling, which is being keepers of the garden. Hansen outlines exactly the type of man that every woman is/should be drawn to. And then explains why every young boy should strive to grow up to be just like that. You should definitely check it out!

Healthy Me, Healthy Us by Les and Leslie Parrott

I am always looking for and reading books about how to improve my relationships.  I grabbed this book on a trip to NC earlier this year and couldn’t put it down (or stop talking about it). Half the book is highlighted and I keep going back to remind myself of the truths written there.  The authors encourage the reader to be authentic and know their significance.  The questions throughout guide the reader in determining their own health, because our relationships can only be as healthy as the people in them.  If you desire stronger relationships that are God honoring, I recommend this one!

He Still Speaks to Kids—Teach Children and Young Adults to Hear God by Wayne Drain and Tom Lane

Gateway Church recommended this book the last few months and I couldn’t wait to read it. There are great stories and reminders intertwined that guide parents/grandparents/teachers in how to teach kids to listen to God’s voice.  Along with those great reminders, the encouragement to trust Him that we will lead and raise our kids well! You can grab a copy here!

My Yes is on the Table: Moving from Fear to Faith by Jennifer Hand

Here is another great book that I highlighted and will go back to read over and over again.  If you struggle with giving up control to God and trusting him with the unknown, this book is a must read.  Jennifer takes us on a journey to figure out what is holding us back from saying yes to God.  If like me you let fear get in the way of you taking the next faith steps, these words will really encourage you!

Becoming an Intentional Family: Creating Meaningful Memories and Building Confidence in Your Kids by Anastasia Corbin

I got a preview of this book before it hit the shelves this month and absolutely love the down to earth way it is written.  Corbin grew up watching families to see what characteristics they shared that made children feel valued and loved.  She has a practical guide that asks questions and shares activities that help families to be intentional in the way they represent Christ to each other and the world.  This book was so inspiring and showed how they really live out their values! If you are interested in a copy of this book, I’m giving away a signed copy on Facebook/Instagram… so head there and check it out!

I said I only had five but I have two more that I have to give shout outs to!

Undistracted by Bob Goff

This one needs no introduction.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  If you have never read Bob Goff, you should.  Basically every time I read something of his, it becomes my favorite.  Check it out, you will thank me later!

Stop Interrupting Me: A Practical Guide to Teaching Kids Their Manners by Rebekah McClure

This is a low-cost, wonderful resource for any parent or grandparent (or even teacher).  The methods in this book not only work, but I have seen them in action, because it was authored by one of my good friends.  Her children are precious and so is she!  I actually read this book the first time last year, but since I reread it again this year, it definitely deserved a spot on the list!

Interested in seeing more of my recommendations?