Death and its circumstances are a difficult topic to discuss with anyone, at any age. There are many emotions, questions and challenges that arise when we lose a loved one.
For children, being introduced to death can be confusing or traumatic, depending on the circumstances and their relationship with the deceased. As parents, protecting our children from difficult and painful situations is our job, but sooner or later your child will experience loss and grief.
Here are some helpful ways you can discuss this with your children.
Be patient with your child
Children react to death differently as they grow. Their emotions change depending on their development. If they are very young, they may not understand the permanence of death and will ask questions that may require challenging explanations. It’s important to be patient and try and understand where their mindset is in the situation. Their emotions will increase as they become teenagers and understand better what has happened with the loss.
Be honest with them
Although you may want to protect your child from some harsh realities, they’ll likely learn one way or another what has happened. It’s best they hear the truth from a parent or guardian, so that they can begin grieving in their own way – with guidance from you. Children tend to read emotions better than we think. If we avoid discussing things that upset us, they’ll know something is wrong and may speculate or worry in unhealthy ways that frighten them.
A child may not know how to handle grief, or even know what it is. In addition to talking with them patiently and honestly about what happened, they will likely need reassurance that things will be okay, and that they are safe. It’s helpful to encourage them to ask questions and discuss their feelings as well.
Each family situation is different, but these are just a few guidelines to help you discuss a loss with your children for when the time comes. For more information or questions on creating the right funeral service for your loved one, please visit www.thejonesfh.com, or call us at 815-288-2241.
Jones Funeral Home
204 S Ottawa Ave
Dixon, IL 61021