Parenting advice for children who have lost a Mom or Dad

Widows have to adjust to so many changes after they lose their spouse, but one of the biggest, and most important shifts, is becoming a single parent.

Catherine Tidd had three small children, ages 18 months to 5 years, when her husband Brad died in a car accident on his way to work. In the immediate aftermath, she faced having to support their grief while she felt like she was falling apart, and in the long-term had to consider how she’d paid the mortgage if she had to go back to work.

Tidd gives a refreshingly honest, and sometimes humorous, look at the days, months and years following her husband’s death in her new memoir, Confessions of a Mediocre Widow: Or, How I Lost My Husband and My Memoir; Trade Paper).

One in three women will find themselves widowed before the age of 60. Tidd shares the following advice for those who have to comfort and care for children:        

  • Focus on what you do well vs. what you don’t.  As parents (especially single parents), we tend to be too hard on ourselves.
  • Bring your kids into the discussion – don’t always hide the fact that you might be a little overwhelmed. They may find ways to help out even when they’re young. 
  • It’s okay to ask for help from friends, family, and neighbors. Asking for help is one of the hardest things for anyone to do and, frankly, most people are happy to do something to help others. 
  • Age appropriate honesty is important when you decided to date. Talk to your kids about what dating means and how it affects them (because, ultimately, that’s what every kid wants to know).
  • Say I love you whenever the mood strikes:  If you pass my kids and I walking down the street, you’ll think we are the sappiest bunch ever. I’ve always been that kind of person, but since my husband’s death, I’ve decided you can’t say it enough.

Catherine Tidd is founder of TheWiddahood <> . She is also a speaker on grief, coping, and the benefits of organ donation. Tidd writes for The Denver Post’s Mile High Mamas and hosts a positive support page on Facebook <>  under the name Widow Chick.