As individuals face widowhood, children of widows and widowers are also facing the loss of a parental figure. This can become increasingly difficult if a widow is suddenly a single parent to sons, or a widower is now raising girls alone. When children are in their teenage or young adult years, this presents some unique challenges. It is an ever present glaring moment for widowed parents who realize there are certain questions or topics that just might be handled best with the presence of their spouse. Now, this is true in any circumstances, regardless of gender. There are certain milestones reached where the loss of a partner becomes particularly glaring.
There are times when daughters of a widower may just need to have some time with an adult female, and a chance to ask questions that another female might be more comfortable addressing. Likewise, a young boy having an adult male to devote time to him would most likely be appreciated in the same manner. This is in no means indicating gender interferes with parenting – this merely illustrates how it might benefit some to have a mentor involved with the family who is suffering from such a significant loss. Even male to female or female to male mentors can have a substantial impact!
Here are ways to get mentors involved for your child:
- Friends and Family. This is a natural resource for finding mentors for your children. When a friend of family member experiences the loss of a spouse, a common statement is “let me know what I can do for your family”. If your friend or family member does not offer anything specific, tell them what would be most helpful! Mentoring might be it. For instance, could he or she drive your teenage daughter to her sporting event after school or swing by to spend time with your adolescent son working on an important project? It might be helpful! It is hard to justify spreading yourself thin when you have people who care about you offering to help.
- Mentoring Programs. Depending on the age of your child, you might be able to connect with some mentoring programs within the community. Some are national such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters. If you are interested in pursuing an avenue such as this, it could be helpful to get involved soon, as some waiting lists might be lengthy.
- Mental Health Agencies. Some mental health agencies, such as counseling centers, offer up mentoring services for their clients. This might involve your family receiving some level of family treatment and then an additional employee doing outreach to your home and spending one on one time with your child. The feedback from programs such as these tends to be positive, and there is usually grant money that covers the cost of activities for your child and his or her mentor. Health insurance might even provide coverage.
- Church Support. It is always a good idea to reach out to your church or religious family, if you have one. Letting them know your specific needs are helpful, and most likely attainable for leaders or organizers to get others involved.
- Widow Care. Of course, Widow Care offers companionship and mentoring volunteers. Whether or not your child needs help with homework, help picking out clothes while shopping, or has questions about dating, we can try to help as best as we can. Even if you do not have a specific need identified, if it would be helpful for you, we can step in.
Finding a resource to mentor your child(ren) is the easy part. The hardest part might just be reaching out and requesting help. Keep in mind while this may be the first time in a long time you have had to rely on others, asking for help is going to benefit you and your family.
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