Doctors share tips on how to help kids grieving after Chadwick Boseman’s death

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Many are mourning the death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman after he passed away this weekend in a battle with colon cancer.

Boseman’s role in the Marvel film helped him become a role model for many kids.

A Cincinnati doctor said death is one of those aspects of life that people must learn to get through and how to cope.

“Explaining death, it’s one of those pieces of life we have no control of, so, we have to learn to get through it, how to cope because we can’t fix it, we can’t change it,” said Dr. David Brand, a Therapist at Beech Acres Parenting Center.

Boseman, known for his role as King T’Challa in “Black Panther” passed away after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

It’s a loss that parents may have difficulty explaining to their children.

“He was battling illness, and nobody even knew so he was a hero in his own right,” said Dr. Reyna Gilmore, a child psychiatrist at Central Clinic Behavioral Health Center. “The fact that he made that sacrifice to continue being their role model for kids and adults. So, I think if they could let their children know to continue the fight and do whatever they need to do to be inspirational and to be okay with themselves in their skin.”

Dr. Gilmore said some tips on helping children grieve include simply listening to kids and hearing out what they are feeling.

“They can be sad, they can have nightmares, they can start acting out behaviors,” said Dr. Gilmore. “But I think it’s really important for us to talk to kids instead of for one medicate them as well as also to understand the root of what’s going on.”

Others say expressing feelings through art is also beneficial.

“We color a black panther picture or Jackie Robinson picture, drawing, journaling,” said Dr. Brand. “We can also go back and watch his movies and appreciate the strength he gave us as he played some of our favorite characters.”

Dr. Brand is a father of four and said he and his family all dressed up and saw “Black Panther” together.

As a parent, he said it is crucial to teach kids not to hide their deep emotions.

“Because growing up a lot of the time in the African American community we’re taught to be strong be strong be strong and we miss the beauty in being real and allowing those real emotions to come to the surface,” said Dr. Brand.

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