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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

parenting after loss > "I miss my sister"

My 3 year old son has been saying "I miss my sister" more times a day than I can count. He says it randomly and he says it when he's sad and sometimes he says it when he's in trouble. I'm not sure what to do about it. I know that he legitimately misses her but I also feel that sometimes he uses that phrase to get my attention or to redirect what's happening to another subject or to get out of trouble. I don't want to dismiss his feelings, but I also want to convey that his sister's death is not an excuse for his behavior. She would have been five months old last week and I know we're all still trying to process. I don't know if I just wait this out or if I need to take him to some kind of grief counselor. For the most part he is dealing with it appropriately, but for the last couple of weeks he's been missing her ALL THE TIME. It's hard to do anything without him saying he misses her. Anybody else gone through this? Ideas?
October 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
Nicole, I'm so sorry for the loss of your precious girl. What a tricky situation with your son....... My initial reaction is to suggest maybe he has a scrap book or diary of sorts that he could draw in when he feels he is missing her. He could draw how he feels or what he would like to be doing with his sister if she was here? I think it's absolutely right for you to address that inappropriate behaviour isn't ok and if he feels angry/sad/misses his sister there are other things he can do. ..... maybe discuss these or have pictures of choices he can make?

A social story could be useful- where you take photos of him doing some appropriate behaviour when he's missing her (eg drawing in his book, going to a calm down area- beanbag or blanket/tepee etc, having a warm bath or shower, talking to you- just some examples of things that might work?) and make a little booklet out of the printed pictures- read together "When I'm missing............. I can........." . I'm a teacher and these can be really helpful for our younger students. All the best x
October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
Yes, we had a phase of this too. My daughter was around three years old at the time as well. I found it really hard to deal with. After muddling through for a while I got in contact with a child psychologist – I didn’t take my daughter there, just spoke to her once for some advice. I described my daughter’s behavior, she listened and gave some advice. It was really helpful.

In a nutshell, she told me to not be too concerned about it. As long as I felt that she was an otherwise happy and healthy child with normal levels of anger, fear and anxiety. She explained that sometimes kids reach out to their parents with saying things like that because they have learned they will get a reaction. It is true, whenever my daughter had said that she missed her sister, I would stop in my track, pick her up, comfort her, no matter when or where. Other kids say that their belly aches. Or that they are scared of monsters.

She suggested to acknowledge what she said (because of course, she does miss her sister) but to to try and direct the conversation swiftly back to the to the issue in that moment. For example: “I know you miss her, sweety. I do, too. But could it be that just now, you are really sad because you don’t get to eat more cookies? And when you are sad, that makes you think of E, too? You know, E wouldn’t get any more cookies, either.“ Or “I know you miss her. But that does not make hitting me ok.“

After a while, I found it easier to tell when she was genuinely sad – then we would talk about her as much as she needed too – or when she was trying to find a way out of an unpleasant situation. This worked for us, and the phase had passed after a while. She still says she misses her, but not all the time and usually in situations when something really triggered her feelings for her sister.
October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterB