How to Approach the Subject of Death with Your Children
September 27 2019 - Benjamin Franklin once said that nothing in life is certain but death and taxes. While this is very true, the former is often much scarier to children than the latter. Talking about death and what this means has often been a taboo subject in families as the discomfort of the subject seems to be better left unspoken about. Unfortunately, death is a part of life, and it is better to prepare children for this eventuality rather than to ignore it.
While ignorance may be bliss, preparing your children on how deal with death in a family, school or a community is a valuable life skill they need. We have rounded up a few tips from leading experts on how to approach the subject of death and what to expect afterwards.
What to Say and How to Say it
With smaller children, it is best to approach the subject gently and to use uncomplicated language to describe the meaning and reality of death. Expect questions and answer them to the best of your ability without complicating the subject.
You can also expect silence or disinterest in the subject - this may indicate that they are still not emotionally intelligent to grasp the concept of death. Try again at a later stage when they are not tired, emotional or engaged in an activity.
Talking about death when driving in the car can be a great way to ease the discomfort of eye contact and provides a good opportunity to explore the subject.
Prepare Them Ahead of Time
As soon as your children are old enough to understand consequences and one can reason with them, you should approach the subject of death. Perhaps using nature, history or religion as the first examples could be a good idea. Think about how the circle of life works in nature or when adopting a pet, managing expectations of their lifecycles.
Owning a pet fish or hamster for example, is a short-term commitment because they age rapidly when compared to humans. Preparing them for the eventuality of death will prepare them better for the passing of a loved one.
Involve your children in the eventuality of death by speaking to them about life insurance policies, funeral arrangements and inheritance. When considering life insurance and death benefits, allow your children to sit with you while sourcing life insurance quotes online from sites like Insurance Geek. Explain the reality of death benefits of life insurance to them, which is not only informative, but provides them with an additional financial skill for their future.
Always Be Approachable
The time will come when death is presented to your child when perhaps a grandmother or grandfather passes away or a pet unexpectedly dies. When this happens, provide your child with the opportunity to grieve while being supportive. Never get impatient or irritated if a child seems to take long to grieve, as every person deals with death differently and it is important to understand this. At the end of the day, if death happens around your children unexpectedly, be patient, be kind and be empathetic when your child grieves. This is the best sound advice one can give.
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