Death is of course one of the most hurtful and heartbreaking experiences that one can go through. No one is exactly a fan of seeing loved ones pass away or attending funerals. In fact, even though we all known we are all going to die someday, we hardly ever discuss or even think about such things.
Death itself is kind of a sad topic to discuss and when you add in all the scary reasons of death that are most common these days, it is not hard to see why many of us avoid such topics and conversations.
“Protecting” Children from the Truth
As parents and guardians we like to protect children from all kinds of dangerous and scary things; regardless of whether the dangerous thing is physical, ideological or in other forms. As death is kind of a scary thing to talk about, most of the parents and guardians never even tell their children about death and its inevitability.
Among those of us who do show the courage to at least inform their children regarding what death is and how it happens; the majority likes to tell children that death is merely a sleep.
Children are Smarter and Braver than We Think
Unfortunately, many of us think that death is too scary and complicated a thing for a child to understand. But, the truth is, children are much more understanding and courageous than we give them credit for.
It is extremely important for us to tell children what death is. We need to stop equating it to a long sleep and tell children what death really is. Of course the way we tell this truth to children has to be extremely gentle.
When talking to a child about death, move at the child’s pace, answer any questions that he or she might have. It is always best leave out any gory or brutal details if the child is too young. And of course, you don’t really have to discuss any reasons of death.
To make thing simple, break down the whole thing into small, easily understandable blocks and remember to deal with the child very gently.
Taking a Child to a Funeral
The one thing that is pretty common among parents who do not tell their children about death (and even those who do) is that they never take their children to a funeral. To them, funeral is like a traumatic experience that will scar their child for life.
The truth could not be further away from this. Taking children to a funeral not only teaches them about death but it also helps them become more empathetic.
Needless to say, teaching children about death is important and so is taking them to funerals. If you think your child is not ready to attend a funeral, take them to a cemetery, show them the museums, galleries, memorial headstones in Maryland, etc., and try to explain the whole funeral process to them.
Explain to them how funerals happen, what activities take place and what the headstones are for. Once you think that you child fully understands death and funeral, s/he is ready to attend funerals. And, don’t think for a second that it might have a detrimental effect on the child’s mental health.