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Dealing with Death, Grief, and Loss: Helping Children Understand
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Tags: wrongful death, dealing with grief, children grief help, mental health

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Dealing with the death of a loved one and the grief you feel is hard. When you are just coming to terms with the death yourself, it can be difficult to help children understand, too. They must be able to understand what is happening so that they can grieve appropriately, as well. 

Address the Emotions Involved With Death

Talk to your child about your own feelings. If your child knows you are feeling sad, hurt, angry, or confused, they will know that it is okay for them to feel that way, too. If they know it is okay, they will be more likely to talk about it and express those emotions in healthy ways. 

Encourage your child to express their feelings. Don't force anyone to talk, but if they are willing, be there to listen. Be present, open, and honest. Help them understand what they are feeling, and let them know that it is okay to feel that way. Being there to help them through an unfamiliar emotion and process will help them along with their own grieving. It could also be good for your own as well. Speaking with a grief counselor might become necessary if you feel you or your child would benefit from that.

Talk About Death

Answer any questions they might have. Depending on the age and life experience of the child, there will be different levels of understanding. Encourage your child to ask questions and then give them an answer to the best of your abilities. Being willing to talk openly with your child is one of the best things you can do for them in this situation.

Be honest and use the proper terminology. Telling a child that their loved one moved away, went to sleep, or any other idea is actually more harmful to the child than the truth is. Being honest, even if the child doesn't understand that death means forever, is best for everyone involved. 

Talk about the funeral. If you decide that your child can attend the funeral, you should prepare them for what will happen. After explaining what the funeral will be like, let them decide if they want to attend Knowing what they’re getting into and the purpose behind everything beforehand will help them prepare for the situation. 

Remember that everyone is different. Everyone grieves differently and each process takes a different amount of time. Your grieving process may not look the same as your child’s. Be patient, kind, and understanding—just like you would want someone to be with you.

Be Available to Listen, Comfort, and Support

Give the child time. The child may not want to talk right away, and that is completely normal. Sometimes, people prefer to think about what they’re feeling before discussing it with others. Always make sure that you are available when they are ready to talk or ask questions.


Help the child remember their loved one. As time goes on, your child will want to remember their loved one. Be there with them as they remember the good times, look at old photos, or do something as a tribute. 

Seek Legal Advice if Necessary

If the death was unexpected or there was a case of wrongful death, you should seek legal advice during the grieving process from qualified wrongful death accident lawyers. If you are trying to help a child understand, you must fully understand for yourself, too. Part of understanding is feeling comfortable in your future and seeking justice if needed.

Death can be hard for everyone involved, especially children who don't quite understand what it means yet. Helping them understand is so important for their grieving process as well as your own. However, if you make open and honest communication a priority, the process can be smoother for everyone involved—young, old, and everyone in between.



By Dixie Somers
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.

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Biography: Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves to write for business health home and women’s interests.

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