My heart aches for the surviving children who lose parents in war…

 

http://www.taps.org/ Quote from this website…

“Children often go through a feeling of no longer belonging in the aftermath of the death of a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or loved one. Other children at school and your community may not have ever experienced a loss of this manner, leaving a child to feel alone; as if they are the only ones who have experienced such a loss. When they can connect with other children with shared experiences, they feel comfort in knowing they are not alone and relief in sharing with others who truly know what they are going through as they have been there themselves.”

 
 
Losing a loved one to war is emotionally overwhelming to all family members and friends.  The children themselves need special attention because they are often too young to understand completely what is going on and the implications in terms of their own responsibility to the surviving parent.  Kids try to be strong, and tend to blame themselves for sadness demonstrated by those who are grieving for a loss of a loved one.  The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)http://www.taps.org/ can help families focus on helping children of surviving parents.  Even when your loved one comes home to life after war they are often damaged emotionally, and do not behave the same as the person they were before the war.  Children can suffer the same confusion and often be the brunt of toxic behavior resulting from the symptoms of PTSD, especially the expression of anger, and emotional numbness.  As a post WWII child, we needed help in our home, but it never came.  We had to experiment with a “hide and sneak” approach to distance ourselves as a coping mechanism.  We tried to stay out of the way, and ended up with similar angry behaviors over time because of the lack of interest and caring demonstrated by our parents.  Parents are often overwhelmed with their own needs during a tragic period, and children are ignored.  Outside support groups did not exist following WWII, so we were left on our own in a very toxic circumstance of survival.  Non-profits like TAPS and others can really help families readjusting to life after war, whether it is the consequence of losing a parent or addressing the challenges of readjustment to civilian life with loved ones, especially children. 
 
 
Steve Sparks
Author
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

2 thoughts on “My heart aches for the surviving children who lose parents in war…

  1. Judy Sparks

    Parents who suffer from trauma, please share some of your feelings with your young children so that they realize your anger or sadness is NOT because of them. You need to talk with them at a developmentally appropriate level, and reassure them that with time and help, you will get better! When I was a 6-year old girl my parents went through a difficult time in their marriage and were separated. We stayed with my mother, who struggled greatly during this time. I now realize if she had shared with me more of what she was experiencing, my self-esteem may have been better preserved. It took many years for me to regain a healthy sense of self. I never blamed my mother or father for my feelings, but now understand that working through things with your family produces the best result for all family members. My parenting of my own child may have been better if I had learned this by example. In retrospect, I always felt loved by my mother and father, and loved them as well. I believe they did the best they knew how to do during stressful times. Please do your best by sharing positive talk with your children.

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  2. Noelle the dreamer

    Bravo and thank you for sharing your story!
    It is important for civilians to realize conflicts have resulting issues. Four years in the trenches had my grandfather flinch at the mere sound of the wind…
    God bless,

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