Loss is something everyone has to come to terms with at some point in their lives. Parents may not want their children to learn these lessons until much later in their life, yet now you have to teach your kids how to cope with loss.
One of the first experiences children have with loss is usually when something happens to the family pet. If you want to help your child learn how to cope with the loss of a pet, then make sure you are as simple as you can be.
Some parents might think the best way to talk about loss is to try to justify it or find strange ways to make the situation less tragic. Taking these paths can often be a misguided decision. It is difficult to figure out how to explain to your child what has happened but the best option is to be gentle but also clear. You want to be direct with your children about this loss. Your kids can handle more than you can imagine, and trying to hide the truth may confuse kids.
Try to Listen and Comfort
No one can predict how your children are going to react to this sad news. Some children might begin to cry, and that is okay. Other children may just stay quiet, which is a normal reaction, so don’t try to rush a reaction from them as they might just be processing this news.
Another group of children might react with curiosity. Your children might ask you about death, or they might ask you what happens after death. If your kids ask you these questions, be sure to give them the best answer you can give and be as honest as you can. Each kid is unique and will likely react differently, so just be there and allow each to react as naturally as possible.
Be Emotionally Available
It’s important that you create an environment where emotional truths can be shared easily. Expressing emotions can be difficult for some adults, and that could make some kids feel uncomfortable sharing their emotions as well. A hospitable environment is not good for growth, bonding, and open discussion.
Make it a point to mention your feelings, all of them. It is okay if your emotions are raw. The point is to voice them so that your children can see that it’s okay to let them out. Children are going to eventually be able to talk to you about what they are feeling after experiencing this loss if you take this simple step.
By Samantha Higgins
Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.