Yes, showing emotions in front of your child is completely fine. They might even ask you about the same, but they'll understand that it's okay to cry when feeling sad.
How to Talk to Kids About Death in the Family?
The notion of death is rarely addressed by parents in Indian society. Most of them think that this kind of topic will traumatise them. However, it is not the case. Having half-ridden information about death can affect children of different ages and might also bring behavioural changes to them. This can further complicate their personality development.
Knowing how to talk to kids about death can help parents or guardians further enhance this conversation which is necessary for children from an early age.
How to Make Children Understand Death?
Whether during someone's demise or just initiating the conversation randomly, it is important to talk.
Below are suggestions you can take while dealing with this:
Plan AheadCreating a certain time and place while talking about this topic is relevant. Make sure that parents or guardians are present during this conversation. Also, noting the psychological state of the child is necessary for this scenario.
Have Enough Time to Explain It ProperlyIt is natural for children to gain curiosity over anything and ask innumerable questions on the same. Be prepared to answer each of those carefully so that the whole thing becomes clear to them.
Be PatientIt requires calmness while going over these intricate conversations. Your child might gradually lose attention and think it is unimportant. In this regard, it becomes the parent's responsibility to make it understandable in their language.
Be HonestHonesty and transparency play vital factors when it comes to talking about death with children. Children tend to ask more questions, and most of them carry the ability to understand lies easily. Moreover, if they're fed with lies, it might become a shock later.
Progress by Keeping Their Age in MindThe child's age plays a vital role since it sets the bar to explain things more clearly to them. Pre-school children need easier explanations, while middle schoolers can understand better than them.
What Are the 4 Ways of Telling a Child that a Loved One has Died?
People carry this popular misconception that speaking about death with children will hamper their mental health. However, this is not the case every time.
Follow these tips while mentioning the death of the loved one to your child:
1. Be Quick and PreciseBetter than hiding or delaying the time; it is better just to put it out there. It is normal to feel the natural urge to make the child stay out of this, but that might worsen the case. It becomes challenging to express if you take longer to speak about it.
2. Be HonestNothing beats this simple act which will not only enable you to stay on track but also you'll get to stay out of lies. It's hard to drop this news to children without getting sadder about it. Being honest will help you avoid lying because they will already have an idea about it.
3. Do Not Use EuphemismsUsing things like 'someone is lost', someone has reached somewhere else' etc., will take more time for children to understand. Instead, you can tell them warmly about the unfortunate thing that took place in simple language.
4. Give Them TimeShocking news might be too much for many adults; hence it's nothing different if children absorb the news.
How Does a Child Grieve?
Aged 2 to 5 Years or PreschoolersThe absence of someone close is often mitigated by saying that they are put to sleep, or they are with god and so forth. However, it is normal for them not to understand death and thus not show any expressions, or they may seem unmoved. However, it is better to speak directly about it instead of using euphemisms.
Aged 5 to 12 Years or Elementary SchoolersThe intellectual ability of children to understand death is more nuanced at this age. It might be possible that they don't even want to speak about it. Staying non-judgemental and giving them the time to speak is relevant.
Aged 12 to 18 Years or Teenagers
There is almost nothing to explain death to teenagers. However, teaching them to vent out emotions is significant in this scenario.
The death of a close one might hamper teenagers psychologically if they don't vent their emotions properly.
Allow them to talk about it. They might be angry, sad, depressed, etc., and feeling all these emotions is perfectly alright. It is important to convey this message to them correctly.
How to Help Your Child Cope With Their Grief?
Childhood is a stage when children come in contact with different emotions, and how they deal with them reflects their future. In this regard, nothing can be worse than leaving your child to deal with grief alone.
Follow these simple ways to ensure they don't struggle with their emotions if they lose someone close:
Be Clear About ItThere is nothing to hide. Instead, the clearer you are, the better they'll understand and start coping with it.
Listen IntentlyChildren might have lots to say or ask, don't be agitated. Let them speak, and if they express themselves in the meantime, don't stop them.
Let Them ExpressThe best way to remember the one who passed away is to talk about them. Don't let your child forget. Let them draw, sing a song etc. and do things that remind them of the person. Even if they want to share their emotions regarding this, let them know there is nothing wrong with showing emotions.
Talk About the ChangeNormalise the change during the absence of the loved one. If it is the child's parents, let them know how the absence will continue to stay daily.
Help Them Remember the Deceased Person
Help them remember the person who's no more through different methods. You can initiate a conversation about them and just talk about how they used to be.
Nobody knows the kid better than their guardian or parent. They require the most comfort during this stage. Hence apart from abiding by the above guidelines, you can frame yourself on how to talk to kids about death accordingly by taking note of their condition.
FAQs about Talking to Kids about Death in Family
It is not always necessary to do so, especially if there's no other psychological problem your child is facing.
In most cases, it takes around nine years for a child to understand death.
Even though it depends on what kind of intellectual disability is discussed, you can follow certain points to initiate this conversation. You can focus on the word death recurrently so that they don't deviate from the idea and follow a certain question framework to understand how far they've understood.
Other Important Articles about Death Support
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