Finding the Right Words: Guidelines on how to talk to grieving children about death
Through the years I have learned a great deal from many grieving children and their families. They have taught me which words work best when talking to children about death. Here are some general concepts I suggest companions use when talking with children about death, dying, grief, and mourning.
One of the first opportunities for you and the child to express your grief is the funeral. This article will help you understand the importance of the funeral not only for you and other adult mourners, but for the children. It will also offer suggestions for guiding children through this important ritual in a healthy, life-affirming way.
Adults grieve. So do children. As an adult or child, experiencing grief means to "feel," not just to "understand." Anyone old enough to love is old enough to grieve. Even before children are able to talk, they grieve when someone loved dies. And these feelings about the death become a part of their lives forever.
Each year thousands of teenagers experience the death of someone they love. When a parent, sibling, friend or relative dies, teens feel the overwhelming loss of a someone who helped shape their fragile self-identities. And these feelings about the death become a part of their lives forever.