Parent-to-Parent: Words That Help, Words That Hurt

Our Parents Council, a group of “alumni” parents and other caring parents come together for workshops on a variety of topics.  The following information was compiled from their recent workshop.

Words That Don’t Help

We have all been hurt by people saying or doing the wrong things in response to the tragic loss of a loved one.  It often times makes things more difficult and can cause more pain and anger.  Some common examples are:

“You are the man of the house now and you need to take care of your mother”
“How are you?”
“Your loved one is at peace now.”
“God gives you what you can handle.”
“I know exactly how you feel.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“They are in a better place.”
“You need to be strong for the kids.”

We all agreed that people in general don’t know what to say, so often times they say the wrong things and these comments can be very hurtful.  There are words that can heal and there are words that hurt.  People are not trying to be malicious but they are uncomfortable around you and often times say the wrong things.

Words That Help

There are many things that can be said that will help and here is a list of them.
“I don’t know what to say”
“I am thinking about you”
“I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers”
“I am here for you”
“I don’t know how you feel but I am here to help in any way I can”.

Sometimes a hug or a gesture of kindness is better than saying anything.  Don’t wait for the person to ask for help.  Do something that you think will help even if you are not asked.  Actions speak louder than words.

Take the children out and give the mother or father a little rest.

Sit with the person and just let them talk about their loved one and don’t try and offer any advice.  Don’t be afraid to admit that you feel helpless and you don’t know what to say or do.