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How fathers experience the loss of a child: 4 stereotypes


The worst thing in the life of any person is the loss of his relatives, their death. They always leave unexpectedly, and it is impossible to be prepared for this. It is especially difficult when such a grief as the death of a father or husband falls upon a family. Then the woman is left alone with the children.

There are no people who can just let go of any of their relatives, family members or friends. Death is always a person’s suffering, tears and psychological experiences in the form of depression and other things. If adults can still, after a while, accept the loss, then this is not easy for children. This article will discuss how to survive the death of a father to a child, how to help him in this.

"This cannot be! I don't believe it!"

When the news of the sudden death of the father is reported to his relatives, the first thing they feel is the rejection of the situation, it seems to them that this is just a dream, and not reality, that this could not happen to them.

Denial is a defensive reaction of a person, so he may not experience any emotions, not cry, because he is not aware of what is happening. It will take him some time to recover and accept the departure of his father. If adults first deny the fact of what happened, then that's what is happening in the soul of a child, they do not always know. Therefore, it is very important to help him not to withdraw into himself, and not to receive psychological trauma that will haunt him throughout his life.

Father's death for a child

If bad news is directly informed to adults, then not many people know how to explain to children that dad will never come home again, and most importantly, how to console them. About it further. After the death of the father, the child can behave differently. It is not always possible to understand how he feels. Some children start to cry, others ask a lot of questions, because they don’t know how dad will not be with him anymore, it also happens that they don’t say anything, and all emotions are manifested in behavior.

One can suspect something was wrong with sudden and unreasonable changes in the child’s mood, if he had just been carried away by the game and seemed calm, then after a couple of minutes he would be weeping. Children experience loss for a very long time, so their behavior is impossible to predict.

As soon as the child has learned about the death of his father, it is very important not to leave him alone, to pay as much attention as possible and surround him with care. Young children should understand that, having lost their dad, they still have a mother. It is she who will protect them and love. He must constantly feel that there is one of the parents next to him.

The mother after the death of her father should show how much she loves her child, and that he should not be afraid of his tears about the loss. She will have to prepare for the fact that the children will begin to shower her with questions about the collapsed grief. A woman will have to be patient and answer the child, even the most difficult, absurd and painful ones. Such curiosity is not associated with indifference, but rather helps the son or daughter to understand what has happened and to accept. Therefore, the conversation must take place, and leave or put it off is not worth it.

Aggression after death

If after the death of the father, the son stopped listening to his mother, behaves badly, shows aggression, then she will have to be patient. But in no case do not scold him. You can try to calmly talk to him.

It is important to understand that, having learned about death, the child himself begins to be afraid to die or remain without a second parent, hence his aggressive behavior is manifested. It is very important to talk with him, to know his fears, and to calm him as delicately as possible.

In the event that, in addition to aggression, there is also a deterioration in health or deviations in normal behavior during the day, for example, the child quickly becomes tired, stops eating, abandons his favorite toys, skips school, this is a serious reason to consult a child psychologist for advice. Delay with a trip to the doctor is not worth it.

Sometimes a child can blame himself for the death of his father, because he once said something bad to him, such as “I do not love you” or “I wish I had another father” or similar phrases. In addition, children can understand the departure of one of the parents as their punishment for not fulfilling their requests, for not responding to comments, etc.

A child can feel guilty even because he cannot understand his own emotions. Therefore, it is necessary to talk with children about their experiences and try to explain to them what this means and why it happened. It is worth conducting the interview immediately after the funeral, and after a month or two to make sure that he is able to survive the absence of one parent.

What to do? How to help a child?

It is important to carefully monitor your child, because the next six months the child after the death of his father may behave abnormally, because the experience has passed into the pathological stage. This can be confirmed by the presence of symptoms that do not go away for a long time. You should be wary if the child does not express any emotions for a long time, or, on the contrary, demonstrates them too clearly. Another sign is a refusal to go to school, or good grades are replaced by bad grades. The appearance of anger, tantrums, screams, fears and phobias is a good reason to go to a psychologist to treat the pathological stage of the child’s suffering after the loss of his father.

If the children do not want to talk about dad or can’t, lose interest in life, become locked in themselves, do not even communicate with friends, then urgent help from a doctor is needed.

The death of a father can drive a child into a long depression, he feels lonely, abandoned. Having survived such a loss in childhood, in the future it can affect the lives of children, their professional activities and the personality as a whole.

If the child perceived the father also as a friend, was proud of him, tried to imitate, then for him it would be a double blow and loss of life guidelines, there was no one to equal.

Cause and Day of Pope's Death

Of great importance is the cause of the death of the pope. When nothing foreshadowed his loss, he was not sick, then this is the hardest thing for the family, because the blow of fate happened unexpectedly. If a man committed suicide, then his loved ones will blame himself for everything and suffer in guesses why he did this to them.

A big imprint on the child’s consciousness is the fact that he witnessed death. The psyche suffers greatly from what he sees and you can’t do without a doctor anymore, because he will constantly scroll through this memory in his memory or see in a dream, and wait for his father’s death day with fear. How hard it will be for a child to cope with his dad’s loss depends largely on his age, character and whether he has previously lost relatives or not.

How does a child under the age of five experience grief?

How does age affect the perception of father loss? How a child will accept loss depends on his age. How do kids, schoolchildren and teenagers experience grief? A child under 2 years old is not able to realize that there has been an irretrievable loss of one of the parents. But he can feel that his mother is in a bad mood, and other residents of the apartment do not smile at him as before. Feeling like this, the baby often begins to cry, scream and eats badly. Physically, this can manifest itself in poor stools and frequent urination.

A child aged 2 years old realizes that parents can be called if they are not nearby. The concept of death for him at this age is not conscious. But the fact that he calls dad, but he does not come, can cause him great concern. Mom should surround the baby with love and care, as well as provide him with proper nutrition and a good sleep, then it will be easier for him to cope with the loss.

Children aged 3 to 5 years already take their parents' absence more seriously, so they need to very gently explain that dad will no longer be with him. There is a high probability that such a child may have fears and phobias, he will often cry, complaints may occur about a headache or in the tummy. It is very important to communicate with the baby as much as possible, remember with him happy moments spent with dad, watch photos.

How do children survive in grief at 6-8 years old?

A child aged 6 to 8 years is a schoolboy who, in communication with peers, tells them about their parents. Therefore, it is important to help children be prepared for questions, but where is your dad? It is necessary to teach him to answer briefly, with one phrase, "He died." But how it happened is better not to tell others. A child can behave aggressively with peers and a teacher, so it is important to warn the teacher about what happened so that he looks after him.

Woe to a child 9 - 12 years old

Children from 9 to 12 years old want to be independent, do everything yourself. But the loss of his father instills a feeling of helplessness in them. They have many questions, such as: “who will take him to school?”, “Who will go to football with him?” And the like. A son’s obsession can be that he is now the only man in the family and must take care of everyone. In this case, it is important to help him not to abandon his toys and childhood, passing to adulthood, and to remain carefree for a longer time.

Woe to the teenager

The most difficult age for a child is, of course, adolescence. At this time, they are already very emotional and are going through a difficult period, and having lost their father, they are completely unsettled. A teenager begins to look for bad companies, secretly smokes cigarettes and drinks alcohol, and even worse, he tries drugs. At this age, children hide their emotions from others, and are most often silent. But inside they are very worried, sometimes even reaching the attempt to commit suicide. It is important for a teenager to give due attention, care and love, so that he knows that he can always find support in his mother.

Little conclusion

Regardless of the age of the child, it will depend only on the remaining parent how he will survive the loss and what his life will be after the death of his father. The main thing is to surround children with care and love. We need to talk more often about their experiences, spend all their free time with them, and if any deviations in behavior or health are found, seek medical help.

1. A man worries not for a child, but for a woman

“I worry about my wife, I want her to feel better. And I? I’m already normal, but I don’t understand how to live on ... " - Shares 40-year-old Nikolai.

Women really suffer more physically after losing a child. For several months, their body was rebuilt to a new regime, preparing for the appearance of the baby. But when he is not born, their body undergoes various, often painful, manipulations - from “cleaning” the gynecologist after a miscarriage, termination of lactation to complex recovery procedures after sometimes extremely difficult births. Their pain is more noticeable and emotional - it is easier for women to talk and cry about grief.

The fact that a man is worried about his wife does not negate the fact that he grieves over his dead baby

A man is primarily worried about how childbirth or surgery will affect a woman. Naturally, he worries about her - a living, suffering native person next to him, and at first he was not so absorbed in the death of the child. The man’s consciousness will turn on and become aware of the fact of losing the child later, when he is convinced that nothing threatens his wife.

“In a man, the work of grief does not start immediately and proceeds more restrainedly,” explains Olga Lebedeva, a psychologist at the Light in Hands Foundation. - He thinks how his condition will affect his wife and older children. The fact that a man is worried about his wife does not negate the fact that he grieves over his dead baby. A man is also expecting a child, makes plans for the future with him, begins to feel like a dad and imagine himself in a new social role. If the pregnancy is terminated or the baby dies during childbirth, he also experiences the loss of the future. And he, like a woman, needs time to survive what happened. ”

2. The man did not bear a child, did not see him, so he does not worry

“The husband, of course, speaks words of support, but how can he understand? It was not toxicosis that tormented him, he did not go through hospital horror, he does not worry and does not feel like me. ”- explains 32-year-old Irina.

What is important here is how the man behaved during pregnancy - whether he stroked his stomach or spoke with the baby. If there were no such manifestations, it may seem to the woman that the man did not join her pregnancy, did not feel a new life inside her - this is what Irina says.

The very feeling of “father of an unborn child” or “father of two / three children” is worth a lot for a man

Indeed, more often a man develops attachment to a child later than a woman. He does not feel movements, changes in the body, which reacts to the development of the fetus. During pregnancy, for many fathers, the child is still not in the material world. He is for the mother, who feels it with her body.

But for the father, the child is in his thoughts and dreams. The man imagines that if he has a son, they will be able to go fishing or repair the car together, and if he has a daughter, how will he drive away the fans. He already gives the child a place in his life, time and space. And the very feeling of “father of the unborn child” or “father of two / three children” is worth a lot for a man. And therefore it is difficult for him to survive and fill the vacuum that has arisen instead of the painted and clearly presented future.

3. A man does not cry after losing a baby - that means he doesn’t care

“I don’t understand how you can stay calm in such a situation! Does he really care? He’s just stone. ” - 38-year-old Alla is perplexed.

Cultural attitudes like “guys don't cry” are so deeply “absorbed” into the public consciousness and the consciousness of specific women and men that they work even after confronting such grief as losing a child. In addition, a man is forced much earlier than a woman (who continues to be on maternity leave even after a tragic birth) to return to his social duties, in the performance of which tears are inappropriate. This is the notification of relatives and friends about what happened, and the organization of the funeral, and going to work. The man has no space for the manifestation of feelings and tears.

A woman can wait for sincere talk about loss, and a man is completely lost

At home, he often protects his spouse from unnecessary worries in the hope that, if he is strong, she will feel better. A woman can take such care as emotional coldness and estrangement, because she wants to not only talk about her feelings, but also hear the pain of the child’s father, thereby sharing hers with him. Therefore, the tears of a man are regarded by women as proximity: this signal of sympathy and empathy is understandable to them.

A woman can wait for sincere talk about loss, and a man is completely lost: how can he help if the idea of ​​crying with his wife is unacceptable to him. Suppressing feelings can lead to alcohol abuse - an easy and quick way to at least briefly feel relief and relieve stress.

“It’s important for men to find a way to share their pain: with friends who will understand, with a wife who sees pain and unfulfilled tears behind his mask of calm and detachment, with a psychologist who respects the man’s condition and will not wait for the“ right ”emotions” , - recommends the psychologist and the head of the Light in Hands fund Alexandra Feshin.

4. It is necessary to distract the wife from sad thoughts, then it will become easier for her

“She cries all the time. I can’t see her tears anymore, I have to do something ”- Recognizes the 34-year-old Igor.

Men are inclined to think in terms of “problem - solution”. It seems to them the natural and most effective solution in such a situation to distract the wife from sad thoughts and hard memories, while the woman does not want this at all.

Various suggestions and persuasions are used: from "you need a positive attitude, come to your senses" to "let's go to friends, have fun, get distracted." What does a woman hear? “I’m tired of your tears and conversations, forget it already!” And it really hurts. What is really behind such words of a man? Sincere desire to help my beloved, but ignorance of how to do it.

“Trying to help her wife cope with grief in this way, a man only exacerbates her condition,” explains Elizaveta Sukhanova, psychologist at the Light in Hands Foundation. - Mutual resentment and misunderstanding arise between partners. The woman feels lonely and rejected by the closest person, and sometimes even “wrong”, because he copes, and she does not. ”

In a situation of perinatal loss, it makes no sense to compare who suffers the most

But the loss of a child and grief is not a problem or a task that needs to be addressed. It is rather a process that needs to open up with all the love for the deceased baby and vulnerability to life, acknowledge its impotence in some life circumstances and live through the pain.

Also, you should not decide for your spouse what kind of help she needs. Ask what can help her right now. Sometimes the best solution for her would be to just be home alone.

In a situation of perinatal loss, it makes no sense to compare who suffers the most. Каждый родитель проходит свой путь прощания с ребенком, с мечтой о нем, с их совместной историей, которой не случилось. И важно, чтобы мужчина был не только опорой для жены, старших детей, но и сам находил поддержку в близких, друзьях или обращался за профессиональной помощью.He should have the opportunity to choose: whether to share his feelings openly and discuss them, to live the loss alone with himself or in a narrow circle of trusted friends.

Psychologists of the Light in Hands Foundation are ready to support men in any of their choices, understanding the complexity of their role in caring for the family and themselves in a situation of perinatal loss.