Helping Children Understand Loss

By: Tom Gallagher
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

No parent wants to explain death and its finality to children, but it is a burden many have to face before they are ready to. Whether it is a loss of a loved one or an admired celebrity, children will be curious and ask questions about death. At Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home, we believe that honest and open communication with kids is the only way to ensure they are informed and have a reasonable understanding of death. We have a few tips that can help:

1. Be Straightforward

Parents tend to use vague expressions and phrases to explain death, but they only serve to confuse children and cause distress over time. It is better to explain death in as clear terms as possible. Instead of saying things like, "They have gone away" or "they are a star now", explain how death is permanent and natural. Make sure they understand that they won't be able to see their loved one anymore, but will always have memories to cherish.

2. Make Them Feel Secure

Children like stability and routine. They are terrified of major changes in their support system, which adds to their sense of loss. That's why it is necessary to explain that their support system is still intact. Explain how death influences their life and what kind of changes they can expect. For example, if their grandma watched over them on occasional weekends, explain that she is no longer able to do so and their aunt will take over that responsibility. Security will help them deal with the loss better.

3. Answer Their Questions

It can be difficult to answer questions when you are dealing with grief, but it is important to keep the lines of communication open. Keep an open mind and make sure your kids know you are there for them.

If you want to know more about funerals or want to plan one, don’t hesitate to call us at Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home for more information.

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