How to help your kids cope with loss

Here are some thoughts to help us cope, and them understand and deal with loss better too.

When we lose someone close to us it can be very difficult to know how, or what, to tell our children especially when we are dealing with our own loss.

However hard it is, there are ways that we can make it easier and talking about it can make our own grief a little easier.

Address the subject.

Sometimes we don’t have all the answers but we can adapt what we tell our children about death to their age.  Death is part of life but we can use examples to demonstrate this such as spring and autumn when the blossom creates new life for leaves but then they die away again when the colder weather gets here.  Or, the death of a pet could be a perfect example of explaining that death comes to everybody.

How to talk about death.

Listen to your children when they start asking questions.  Do not brush your child off if he starts talking about death.  It’s important he knows that you are listening.  Allow your child to see your own grief so they understand that it is acceptable to cry when they have lost someone to him.

Be prepared for questions.

Will you die?  Will I die? What happens when you die?  These are just some of the questions that your child may ask so be prepared with an answer that he can accept.

Should your child go to the funeral?

A funeral can help everybody in the family accept the death and allow you to grieve together.  Your child is part of that family and may want to attend the funeral.  Allow your child to go if he wishes.

This very useful infographic below goes into much more detail about how you can help your child come to terms with losing someone close to them:

Here are some thoughts to help us cope, and them understand and deal with loss better too.

Have you had to help your child come to terms with the loss of someone close to them?  How did you help them?  Were you able to help them?

3 Comments

  • Indeed, you should not force a child to go to a funeral. Sometimes it can be good, but a lot of the time it is a negative experience. Depending on the child, and how well they knew the person. They can either become somewhat scarred, or they could not realize what’s happening and cause a scene or two.

  • I quite agree with you that death is something that shouldn’t be ignored, especially for children. As you said, it can help them better understand what’s happening when you’re willing to talk to them about it, rather than brushing them off. When doing so, it’s important to be candid, but not blunt. Using softer words like “passed” may not help your child understand what’s really happening, which can be detrimental to their growth and learning and emotions. Overall, I think it’s very important to discuss death in a frank but soft way.

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