It’s difficult enough for adults when someone close to them dies. Children don’t have the same capabilities as adults when it comes to working things out, like pain and anxiety. They may not understand when death means, depending on how old they are.
Most people don’t have to deal with the death discussion until someone in the family actually dies. Then there are always questions for kids that need to be answered. It may be easier to use a pet as an example, as a way to cushion children for the future big death discussions, but you also don’t want to worry them that people in their family are going to just drop dead.
Here are some tips that could help you get through that painful task of talking to children about death and dying, without leaving them with nightmares and fears.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
While you want to talk to your child in kids terms so that they understand what you are telling them, you also don’t want to make up things like that the person that died just went to sleep forever. Telling them things like this, or that the person is lost or went away, may just confuse and frighten them.
Use honesty. Let them know that this person is gone, you won’t see them again. If it was an older person you can explain aging, if it was a younger person you can explain how accidents happen. It’s important to let them know that people live on in memories though.
Be Prepared To Answer Questions
Your child may have a lot of questions. You may also find that you are repeating things you’ve already told them. Maybe you said grandpa died because he was old and sick and that people can’t live forever, and that he is in a better place now because he had been in pain. Your child may ask you several times if they can see him again.
Just like any time, be patient with kids. Instead of just saying no, explain that he’ll live on in memories and photos. If you are a Christian family you can say he is in Heaven and any time they want to talk to him they can pray.
Don’t Force The Funeral
Funerals can be scary things for young children, so don’t force your child to go if they don’t want to. If they want to go be sure to explain the process of the funeral ahead of time so they know what to expect.
If it’s an open casket don’t expect them to go up. Let it be their choice. However, you can explain to them that part of the mourning process is saying goodbye and that attending the funeral and viewing the casket are parts of that ritual.
Help By Creating A Memorial For Your Child
Lastly, create some kind of memorial for the deceased family member. If they were cremated you may want to get them a nice urn to place on a mantle. Urns make great memorials and can sometimes be personalized.
Otherwise, you can simply have a small corner table on which you place a photo and maybe an item that person loved, where you and your child can go and say hello or tell stories to the person you lost. This can be a great way to grieve as well.
Originally posted 2015-06-17 23:13:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter