How To Discuss The Concept Of Death With Your Child
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How To Discuss The Concept Of Death With Your Child

Discussing facts regarding death with your child is such a difficult task. Here are tips and steps that you need to take into account to be able to make your child understand death successfully.

Psychologists speculate that children do not have much of a full idea about death until they are ten years old. Many kids today are still baffled about people going to heaven and their loved ones being gone and never to return. But the truth is, these explanations only leave them more confused and expectant of something beyond what is real.

Parents have to understand that, although telling the truth about death may be shocking or painful for their kids, the little ones still have to know one way or another. You just have to find a gradual and comforting way of incorporating the details so that your child will be able to accept and digest the seemingly complicated topic. Here’s how to discuss death with your child.

Tell The Truth

Simply tell your child that when someone dies, that person can no longer be with you forever. Provide a brief explanation of the scientific process of life and how living things are being born or formed, and how corporeal bodies degenerate over time or because of a disease.

Avoid giving your child indirect explanations like “going to heaven” as these will only confuse him more, considering his powerful imaginative mind at such a young age.

Talk About Reality

Allow your child to digest the reality of losing someone in death. It is better that he realizes that a person he cares for is permanently gone instead of waiting endlessly for someone who really cannot come back. Let your child dwell on feelings of sadness and grievance as it is absolutely normal to cry and feel depressed over a few days.

Give Examples

Giving examples or descriptions of understanding death may be helpful to your child as his mind may keep imagining uncommon circumstances. You may provide cartoon movies that show the death of a certain character, including the grieving of loved ones and how they moved on.

You can also give examples of an experience your child may have like the death of a pet to give him a firmer grasp of the topic.

Show The Whole Picture

Your child may begin to fear death or start associating scary images if you give him the wrong impression. It’s important that you tell him that death is normal and inevitable. Tell your child that everybody dies, including you and him, and there are different causes of death, may it be of old age, disease or accident.

If you believe in the afterlife, set a separate time to explain the difference of the body and soul to free him of any unpleasant thoughts concerning death.

Discuss Feelings

Discussing feelings is very sensitive and essential so that your child will know how to deal and cope in the occurrence of death. Explain to your child that death is goodbye, which is why people are sad during a funeral and grieve the loss of a dear loved one.

You must stress that there is a time for grieving and a time for moving on, so that your child will be more adaptive to any possible circumstance to avoid trauma or fear of death.

You’ll soon find that your child is much well-mannered and adjusted in the occurrence of death as he begins to understand the cycle of life. Your efforts in discussing such a delicate topic will surely make him a stronger and well-rounded individual in the years to come.

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Comments (3)

I have always told my daughter the truth in all cases. I feel that to deceive is to foster distrust. But that's a personal decision and not one open to outside evaluation. As a psychologist, however, I do recognize that this approach may be entirely inappropriate for other parents in other cultural settings, for they too have the same right to decide for themselves according to their beliefs.

I totally agree with you James that this maybe inappropriate for people of another cultural background or religious beliefs.

Sensitive issue Charlene, but these things must be first heard from parents for proper awareness and a heart full acceptance of reality. Like the case of Gautama Buddha who was confined in his castle, but when he went outside, he saw the reality of the material world.