Guest Submission by Rachelle Wilber
Many parents feel the need to shield their children about the bad things that can happen in the world. This strategy often leads kids to have a misunderstanding about what it means when something bad happens. Here are some of the reasons that it’s important to teach children about life and death.
Life happens around you and your children every day. Just watching the news brings to light the fact that people are dying every day. Your children may already have heard about someone who died from one of their friends. Teaching them that this is a normal part of life can make it easier for them to understand the process. Younger children have a harder time expressing themselves and loss can cause them to act out in order to try to grasp what’s occurred in their life.
When someone dies, you experience a wide range of emotions. This can make it more challenging to want to sit down with your children and explain what happened. Your children are likely struggling to understand their own emotions in regards to the situation. This can leave them confused about wondering if they will lose you or someone else close to them. Discussing it before the situation is upon you, can make it easier on everyone.
Help to Develop Coping Mechanisms
Children that experience loss will likely ask a lot of questions and may struggle to understand that that person isn’t coming back. Allowing your children to go to a funeral at a funeral home may help them to grasp the permanence of the situation. Seeing it with their own eyes and being a part of the process can help them to heal. Talking about their emotions and expressing themselves in a variety of means is also important. Younger children may need to draw pictures in order to express their sense of loss.
Better Grasp of Consequences
It can be difficult for some children to grasp the concept that there are consequences for actions. You may be struggling to teach them this idea. Death is the most permanent consequence, but can be a valuable life lesson. For example, explaining the circumstances surrounding a person’s death can give your child a better idea of what it means to remember to practice safety rules at home.
Starting the conversation with your children is an important first step. They will likely experience death at some point in their lives and need to be prepared for how to handle their emotions in a constructive manner.
More about Rachelle Wilber
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping at the beach or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook @RachelleWilber.
*Article and photos courtesy of Rachelle Wilber