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How To Tell Your Children About Death

Aug 17, 2007
Most children live in an idyllic world of Saturday cartoons and the loving care of their parents. Unfortunately, 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. Death is a difficult subject to work with at any age, but there are several things you can do to make the explanation process easier for those involved.

1. Children Understand Things Differently Than Adults

The media have most likely already given your children some sense of death but they likely don't fully understand or appreciate the subject and haven't discussed it with you until now.

2. Discussing Death With Your Children

Explaining an idea such as death is different from explaining something physical that your children are able to see, taste or touch. Try and explain things from the simplest level you can. 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. Helping Children Coping With Loss

- Different children take loss differently
- If your child loses a pet, be sure to hold a goodbye funeral for the pet
- Keep discussion open for more than one day
- The heaviest toll is when a child loses one or both of their parents

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. Inform Children At An Early Age

Children should be given ample time to mull over the concepts of life and death in their minds. Do not wait until their pet dies in order to explain the subjects of death and dying to your children. Many parents agree that children respond best to an open discussion rather than, say, an informational video. It's also better that they learn these things from you, rather than from an insensitive friend at school.
About the Author
For more great child death related articles and resources check out http://mortuaryhq.info
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