by Katrina Hayday Wester
a fact of life that all living things die; however even for grown-ups
it’s a difficult concept. When your child experiences a loss,
there will be a lot of questions, however a few tips will help you
help your children cope better in this difficult time.
HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH DEATH?
Discussing your own personal experiences with death may be a good
place for you to start talking to your child about their loss. They
might be able to relate better if you discuss how you felt when your
grandmother died when you were an adolescent or how you lost a friend
in a car accident.
CIRCLE OF LIFE
When you discuss death, it’s an opportunity to discuss life.
A simple way you can introduce the circle of life to your child is
by visiting elderly relatives. He will see that aging is a natural
process. Children will ask questions and if they feel that they can
talk freely about it they will cope better when confronted with the
loss of a loved one.
SHOW YOUR GRIEF
It’s natural to want to shield your child from your own grief,
but by being open, you allow children to see you grieve and understand
that it’s a natural process in healing. If you hide from your
child when you feel sad, he will think that it’s not okay to
cry – which is the opposite of what you want him to know.
When a child experiences the death of a loved one, the reaction is
often to ask a lot of questions. Children will often ask if you will
always be around and you need to tell them honestly that you will
not; however you’ll want to reassure them that they will be
cared for. Try to avoid relating death to “going away”
or “going to sleep” that often introduces additional anxiety.
Believing in something helps children cope. If you are religious,
you can look to your church, synagogue, mosque, etc. If you are not
religious, you can discuss the greater meaning of life with your child.
By helping to understand their part in the world they will continue
to have hope for the future.