It is never easy when a child experiences the loss of a loved one. Talking to your child about death can be a complicated conversation, but it doesn’t have to be a bad one. Many parents stress over what to say and how to say it, which is an understandable concern. Knowing how to explain such a profound component of life is something that does not tend to come naturally. Fortunately, so many parents have had the same conversations with their children and many tips have been compiled.
It might seem easier to fib or tell a little white lie when it comes to death, but children will benefit more from the truth. This means honesty regarding what happened and how you feel about it. You may feel as though you need to be strong in front of children – to avoid feeling grief because it might upset the child. However, children that see adults with real emotions are likely to become more comfortable with their own. Show and tell children that it is okay to be sad from loss.
Preparing a child in this kind of situation requires informing them of what death means. You cannot tell a child that their loved one has gone away for a while because that implies that they are coming back. By preparing children for the fact that their loved one is truly gone, they will be more prepared to accept the truth.
Prepare yourself for how children might react to death. Some common feelings for children experiencing the death of a loved one include:
Avoid any shocked reactions of your own to the response a child gives. Allow them to feel what they feel and help them to process it. It would help if you also informed them of what to expect from the future, including what will happen at the funeral. If there will be a viewing, tell them that they will be able to see their loved one, but they will not be living. Informing children ahead of time of what might happen is the best preparation they may get.
Many funeral homes can provide the resources you may need to better communicate with children regarding death. If you are struggling in coping on your own or require assistance, seek out Hamel-Lydon Chapel, a professional in funeral home services and planning. The extra help can take some things off of your plate.