With the loss of grandparents, pets, and loved ones, it can be difficult to avoid death for children or protect them from the pain as a parent. For many parents, the topic of death can be the most difficult topic to explain due to the questions and painful answers that are involved. Although children may not understand much at an early age, there will come a time when it should be discussed to ensure that the child is prepared for one of the most common events in life.
For many parents, it can be tempting to lie or blur the topic of death to ease the pain that it may bring to their children. Although there is no easy way of discussing the sensitive topic, lying will only prevent the child from understanding the subject and can lead to more pain in later years. It’s important to remain honest and open, which will allow the process to be smoother and even help the child grieve and heal.
Discuss Real Situations
Whether talking about a cat that has passed away or a distant relative, it’s important to discuss real situations that involve death. Explain that each person or animal dies at a different age and how it is typically unexpected, but a normal part of life.
Ask How the Child Feels
Whether talking to your child about mortality in a single conversation or in a series of discussions, it’s important to check in with your child periodically and ask them how they are feeling. It’s normal for a child to feel sad for a few days, but the new reality of death should never push them into a state of depression. Seek professional help and monitor the mood of your child to ensure that they continue to thrive and develop.
Shed Light on the Positive
Instead of making death a painful subject to talk about, shed light on the positive part of life by talking about how beautiful it can be to be alive. If you show your personal gratitude for living and how each day is special, it can help your child to have a different perspective on death. Discuss the beauty of having the chance to live and how each person is able to experience the gift. Sharing these moments at a life memorial or an at-home pet euthanasia can be a wonderful way to keep the experience positive.
Celebrate Those Who Pass
Instead of making death a tragic event, make it a point to celebrate those who pass, which can allow your child to remember their family member, friend, or pet in a positive light. In many cases, the passing of a loved one can overshadow the life and relationships that they had, which can take away from the experience of knowing the person. Talk to your child about the importance of celebrating the person or pet and discuss what they contributed to each of your lives.
Whether preparing your child for the low points of life or helping them cope with the loss of a loved one, it can be painful and difficult to discuss mortality. Although your child may not completely understand the reality, maintaining an open discussion and staying close in relationship can help them heal and cope with the tragedy. With time, it will cause the child to develop and mature while still having a deeper appreciation for life.