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How should I tackle my husband's demise?

Q: I have an 8 years old son. He lost his father 3 weeks back. His father meant everything to him and he is not able to digest the fact about his death. He didnt cry for the first two days after his death. On the funeral, he cried for 2 minutes. He went in to a state of shock, whereby the left side of his body started shivering. Because of this, he had to be rushed to the hospital, where he was declared fine. After this episode, all our family members and friends showered their affection and love on him. He seems to have gotten back to normalcy. At the same time, he seems to have got more attached to me and fears my absence. Before my husbands demise, I played the role of the disciplinarian and it was my husband who used to pamper him. Can you tellme the possible psychological effects of this loss on my son and how I need to handle these changes? Will my pampering spoil him? How should I treat him? How should I bring him up without making him feel too important or deprived of his fathers attention?

A:You are handling your own bereavement with admirable courage, I think. Your son will feel the loss. That is the reality. At various stages in his life, he is likely to miss his father. You should let him keep his fond memories and encourage him to talk to you and others in the family. You use the word, pampering but I am not sure of what is meant by it. I think you could drop it from your vocabulary, to an advantage. Some people also use the word spoiling the child when any tenderness is shown. Being very affectionate to the child is the best treatment you can give him. Once in a while you can let him have his own way, breaking a rule, like staying up later than usual or seeing a show on TV. At most other times you can suggest that he should follow the rules that he has agreed to. Discuss things with him and make him see the reasonableness of your discipline. There is no need to stereotype yourself as the disciplinarian. You must do what is good for the child, taking him into confidence where possible. He needs the affection and concern of the entire family and tenderness from you and all of them. There is no harm if he feels important. He is important and let him feel it. In the course of growing up, he should also be helped to see other peoples point of view and the understand their feelings. He will grow up to be a support to you. Be as cheerful as possible and let there be some space for humour in your dealings with the child.


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