Skip to main content

Helping Your Children Conquer Their Fear Of Death

Most children live in an idyllic world of Saturday cartoons and the loving care of their parents. Unfortunately, there comes a time when a child will experience death for the first time and it becomes the responsibility of parents to educate their young children on the subject of death and dying. Most children do experience death in one form or another during their childhood, be it losing a pet or something else... it's at one of these times that you'll probably wind up having to explain death to your child... while this is never the following tips will help:
1. Tailored For Children
Death is, by all rights, a depressing subject but you don't have to lie or sugar-coat the subject either. Chances are, your children have already had some account with death, perhaps by stepping on a bug or from the media. Most children, however, have never seen a real dead body or have had a lengthy discussion with their parents about what, if anything, happens after we die. Just try to keep things light and don't be afraid to answer the hard questions your children ask.
2. Talking About Death
Explaining an idea such as death is different from explaining something physical that your children are able to see, taste or touch. Try and explain things from the simplest level you can. This would be a good time to explain birth as well as death, remember the saying that goes something like "From the earth we came and to the earth we'll return". Also, death should not be discussed in a way that instills fear or morbid thoughts or as a harsh reality. Instead, explain that death is a natural process.
3. Coping With Loss
- Different children take loss differently
- If your child loses a pet, be sure to hold a goodbye funeral for the pet
- Keep discussion open for more than one day
- Death is not something to be feared or avoided
4. Pick The Right Opportunity
Often parents don't talk about important issues like death until they absolutely have to, perhaps because of an unexpected death in the family. This is never a good idea - your children should have some understanding of death in advance so that they can cope and mourn their loss more easily. Many parents agree that children respond best to an open discussion rather than, say, an informational video. Just be honest, speak the truth from your heart and remember you are talking to a child.