In my last post, I wrote that my kids were glad their father is gone now. It’s heartbreaking to hear that, but not every family has a harmonious environment. We don’t have to hold onto negative energy in our home. We shouldn’t.
Here are some things children and widows can do to help let go of the negative energy:
1 Get grief counseling and/or therapy
Find a local licensed therapist on the American Psychologist Association website. You can search for counselors who fit your and your children’s needs.
Don’t live in an environment that doesn’t suit you anymore. Pick paint colors with the kids and change the walls. If you can’t paint the walls, then rearrange the furniture. Buy new throw pillows or a blanket. Allow the kids to pick new bedding if they want.
My kids helped pick new wall paint for our front room, and we painted it together. He’d chosen most of the wall colors and gotten his “decorator savvy friends” to decorate the house, because he hadn’t liked my choices, which were painted over or returned. I changed out my own bedding and curtains to brighten the room.
We don’t have to spend a lot of money to change the energy in a home and take ownership of it.
3 Change out photographs
Do you have frames of family photographs around the house? If they spark bad memories, change them. Take new ones. Put up different photographs. Put the old photos in photo-safe albums or boxes so the kids can look at them later if they wish.
Let the kids choose which photos to archive and which ones to keep in frames. Your house does not have to be a shrine to bad memories.
4 Get a pet
This isn’t practical advice for some families. For me, it was about feeling safe and providing a different kind of distraction (as well as some responsibility) for the kids. We rescued a big dog who barks at everything that moves—one of my requirements for a dog, believe it or not. It was one of the best decisions for us.
If a pet isn’t right for your family, put up a bird feeder or hang a batbox or plant flowers that bees and butterflies like or plant a garden.
5 Create new traditions
The holidays can be especially hard. Sometimes continuing family traditions that included the now-gone parent cause more sadness than create happy memories. Change out some of the decorations (or decorate if you never did before). You can store old ones for later. Do something new with the kids. Try new meals. Go on small adventures to create new holiday memories. If you can afford it, take the kids on a big adventure.
It’s okay to do something different for a holiday. If the kids are old enough, let them decide how much they want to change. They may not want to do anything different the first year or so.
Another thing to consider is that some children may not have had a bad relationship with their dads (due to age or proximity or whatever). This is when we have to find a balance with all our kids’ needs. It may take some time to determine what those needs are.
Our lives are vastly different now, and there’s nothing wrong with letting our environments reflect that.