Friday, May 9, 2014

what to say to children

I get questions all the time about how to explain death to children.  It is an important topic especially because in this day and age, when parents tend to be more open with children, we can easily overwhelm them with ideas and emotions.

Children are not dumb.  They have some idea of life and death.  There is a great book in the church bookstore call The Fall of Freddie the Leaf which deals with the subject quite well.

Generally I experience parents and adults sharing way too much with children.  Children are not prepared to take on the adult emotions, ideas and grief that you may be feeling.  It is not appropriate to expect them to act as a counselor to us.  We need to allow them to be children.  They deserve a short explanation about what happened and then they need to have the chance to go back to being a kid.

They do want to return to play and they will do so if you free them to do it.  If you tie them up with your grief, they will not return to play until you let them.

Children will take their cues on how to act from you.  If you are totally freaked out, the kids will be as well.  If you tell your kids what happened, briefly, and then tell them that it is ok, they will understand and go back to being a kid.  "yes, Great Aunt Suzie died.  She is in heaven with Jesus.  It's ok.  Mom and Dad are ok and we love you and everything is ok."  Everything is ok.  That is the message they need.

Allow your children to move through the loss of a loved one without having to bear the burden of emotions that they are not ready for.  Allow them to be kids.  That is what they are after all.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

No comments: