Dos and Don’ts Of Talking To A Child About Death
For many people, talking about death is a sensitive, complex issue. This is especially heightened if the person you’re talking to is a child. While giving memorial gifts for loss of mother and father, offering moral support, and providing practical help is essential, it’s also vital to let the kid know what the situation means.
Here are some dos and don’ts when talking to a child about death.
Be honest. Because death is inevitable, it’s important to let a child know that someone who has already passed away is irrevocably gone in this world. Don’t be afraid to use the words “dead” or “died;” instead, be open about it and tell it in a way that he or she can understand. Whenever needed, share information bit by bit — but don’t hide the truth from the kid.
Be prepared. Children react to death in different ways. So you have to be prepared for the range of emotions that a child may exhibit. To help him or her grieve, offering something tangible like memorial gifts for loss of mother can help. Apart from the immediate response of the child, you also have to prepare for the long run — for a future without the deceased — practically and emotionally speaking.
Be there. When someone dear to a child dies, it’s vital to make him or her feel that they’re not alone. Assure them that you will be there by their side. You can also cry together to let the kid know that it’s fine to mourn and embrace the pain.
Be encouraging. If you’re talking to a child about death, encourage him or her to ask questions if there are things that are unclear to them. You should also encourage them to participate in rituals or memorialize their messages to the deceased through sympathy ornaments like memorial gifts for the loss of mother.
Don’t try to hide your grief. When you keep your emotions inside, they will burst at one point. Worse, you may do things or say words that can hurt or impact a bereaved child. This is why you’re encouraged to show your pain. Don’t hide your grief and take the time to process what you feel.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the deceased. To help preserve the memories of the deceased, you should bring up wonderful stories about them from time to time. Especially during important occasions like birthdays and holidays, set aside time to share what you and the child love or remember most about the deceased.
Don’t brush off signs that the child may need professional help. As mentioned, children have different coping mechanisms fordealing with the loss of a loved one. If you think that he or she isn’t able to recover and is exhibiting bad behavior, seek professional help immediately.
Don’t rush things. Grieving has no specific timeline. You and the child may experience sudden sadness occasionally. When you or the child feel like you’re overcome with grief, don’t force yourself or the child to feel okay. Never rush things and give yourselves a much-deserved break.