Death is a big topic. Talking to kids about death is an even bigger topic.
But it is important.
Tonight as my 2.5 year old slept peacefully I stared at him thinking of a few special people I wished so much that he had the chance to meet. Then my eyes flooded with tears. How do I convey to this little spirit the idea and the reality of death, that these people impacted and shaped me and therefore are a big part of him? How do I prepare him for and teach him about such big concepts?
Talking to Kids about Death
I am 35 years old. Not a day goes by where I don't think about my dead father. The emotion is raw and undeniable that of a little girl who wishes desperately that she had had the opportunity to know her father. My tears would be “normal” if we had lost him 10, 15, 20 or even 25 years ago but we lost him 35 years ago, six months after my twin sister and I were born into the world. He died tragically and suddenly. His death not only shook our family but our entire community.
So I have no memories of my father. But I do. I have physical memories of my father. Somehow I can feel his touch, very deeply. He is a part of me. I just wish I could find some way to pass those feelings onto my children.
My point in writing this post is to offer some pieces of advice:
- Give kids credit for the emotion they feel all around them. Even the very young have the capability of feeling and comprehending the world. Adults often underestimate this quality in children.Speak to them honestly and with real adult words, explanations and emotions.
- Your parents impact your view of the world and your parenting style, the good, the bad and the ugly, whether you like it or not. So, accept it. I did not realize it until I had children but my mother's single parenthood journey impacted my motherhood. The bar she set was high. I never knew when she had a bad day, I never knew when she felt lonely, hurt, sad or depressed. I never felt without…kuddos to my mother for her strength. Undeniably I grew up with that strength being a part of who I am, much of which I carry with me every day, but, also, much of which is unattainable by most of us.
- If you have lost a spouse, the father or mother of your children, be proactive and seek counseling for yourself and for your children, talk about the emotions. Help yourself and your children grieve.
Grieving Kids Resources
- There are many Children's Books about Grief for kids and parents that are enormously helpful to you and your children. No Time for Flashcards has a wonderfully resourceful post on children's books dealing with grief.
- This post is beautiful, written by Angelique Felix
- You should definitely check out this post from Crayons Freckles has a touching post on how to manage kids & death.
- Children's Grief Education Association
- The Center for Grieving Children
- Kids Aid
- Kids Health
If you cannot find what you and your family need, please contact me. I will help guide you.
Thank you for visiting. I hope I inspired you today.