Death is a taboo topic that people often push aside in disregard. However, what happens when one cannot avoid it? Death of a family member or friend can be exceedingly stressful for both you and your child. One may wonder how as a parent or guardian you can help your child cope with death when you are also having trouble coping. It is necessary to be honest and encouraging to your kids during the difficult time. This creates an atmosphere of openness and comfort that assures your kid that there is no wrong or right feeling.
A child’s capacity of understanding death varies with their age and so does your discussion approach. Young children between the ages of 2 to 6 tend to cling on to a magical illusion and they seem to think death is reversible. Older kids tend to have a more literal grip on reality and understand that death is final. Regardless of their age, one has to use concrete and simple language.
The concepts of your explanation have to be simple and basic. People should avoid using euphemisms and metaphors that the end result is confusion. In addition, it is imperative to give your children undivided attention during emotional periods. Let the child express anger, guilt or sadness and be very understanding. One should offer children ample loving reassurance. Children often develop fear of abandonment and death; therefore, it is necessary to always reassure them. In addition, you have to be a role model to the kids. This requires you to be emotionally genuine especially when it comes to grief.
What you feel should go in hand with what you say. This will not give the kids mixed feelings as mixed feelings increase the mystery. Faith is also a superb source of comfort. Emphasizing the love of a spiritual God that you and your child believe in can be appealing to children. Do not depict mixed feelings about faith as it will only confuse the young one. Helping your child deal with death will make it possible for the child to experience a healthy bereavement avoiding future psychological issues.