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Helping Children Cope With Death

Aug 17, 2007
Most children live in an idyllic world of saturday cartoons and the loving care of their parents. Unfortuantely, there comes a time when a child will experience death for the first time and it becomes the responsibility of parents to educate their young children on the subject of death and dying. Most children do experience death in one form or another during their childhood, be it losing a pet, a family member, or something else.

1. Keep It Simple

Don't avoid talking about death with your children, nor should you explain it in such a way that would instill a fear of death. Thankfully for parents, it is not likely that your child will have to deal with a family member dying, but about forty percent of children do lose a pet at one time or another. Remember that the death of a pet is a traumatic experience for your child and it should be treated seriously. What they are feeling is very real, and deserves your respect.

2. Discussing Death With Your Children

Children may not understand things like concepts as opposed to things they can touch and smell. Always explain things to children using familiar words and metaphors. If you wish, you can use this as an opportune time to go over the other big talk you will need to have with your children.

3. Recommended Parenting Tips

- Different children take loss differently
- If your child loses a pet, be sure to hold a goodbye funeral for the pet
- Children under two still feel loss but coping is easier
- Death is not something to be feared

Most importantly it is critical that you keep talking to your child. Keep the lines of communication open by asking them how they are feeling. Sometimes children will have nightmares about death or losing someone and it's important to talk through these dreams. Some children try to hide their confusion and sadness, and it's important to see beyond the surface and get them to open up to you. Just because they are children does not mean that they don't feel things deeply. If a child keeps their pain and confusion bottled up, it will come back to haunt them in later years.

4. Don't Wait For Tragedy To Strike

It is good to give your children as much understanding about the world around them as you can. This way, if tragedy does strike they are better able to cope.
About the Author
For more great death related articles and resources check out http://gravehaven.info
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