What to Say Wednesday: Ask Open Ended Questions

What to say Wednesday 1Welcome to What to Say Wednesday – a weekly tip on how to support grieving parents.

To find out more, click HERE!

Here is today’s tip:

When talking with parents who have experienced loss, ask open ended questions.

For example: How are you doing? What is it like? How is the rest of your family? What can I do to help during this time?

These are much more effective at communicating care than closed ended questions such as: Are you better now? Are you okay? Can I help? Are you doing good now? That was hard to go through, huh?

Here are the two main differences between these types of questions:

1. One looks for a “yes” or “no” answer, while the other invites the bereaved parents to talk

2. One implies that the someone really should be feeling better, while the other gives room for the reality of grief

When you choose open ended questions, you are giving permission for the mom or dad to tell you what they are really feeling. They may or may not want to give details, but either way, they will know you are offering a listening ear. They will also know you don’t expect them to somehow be “over it.”

Sometimes, just a simple adjustment in word choice can make all the difference in showing concern and support.

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