Death, how to tell children
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jane I Taylor MBACP MCS (Acc) PRCC
16th September, 20150 Comments
Many adults have been affected by the way they have been excluded as children when it came to death. It is not uncommon for therapists to see adult clients who were traumatised as children by being left out of the death of someone close to them. At the age of four we can understand death, yet most children are considered too young to be included when adults are grieving.
Children need to be told what has happened with words they can understand for their age. They should never be told the person has 'gone away' or is 'sleeping' this is confusing and may be very frightening. Children need to be a part of what is happening, it is not a bad thing for children to see adults crying, it is a natural way for them to understand what is going on and it is normal to grieve when someone dies.
Children should never be forced to see the deceased or kiss them, touch them, but if the child wants to with support of adults, it should not cause issues later. Communication and inclusion with the child, with words relevant to their age, is the key to their understanding. Having pets in childhood can help children to understand death. Some pets naturally only live a short life, a couple of years or so, this can be the start of children understanding when someone close to them dies.
About the author
My back ground is in Community Health and Social Care, I am an experienced Occupational Health and School Counsellor. I also have three private practices in Staffordshire and Derbyshire. I specialise in Panic Attacks, Stress, Depression, working with adults, children, couples and families.
Related articles from our experts
- When you are grieving, what 'letting go' really means
Mark Redwood, BA (Hons) Counselling26th October, 2016
- Loneliness; a 21st century epidemic
Lorraine Green, MBACP (Reg)23rd October, 2016
- Wishing life away...What would happen if we really did live everyday as if it could be our last?
Jennifer Jowles BSc (hons) Psych, Dip. Couns, Registered MBACP13th October, 2016
- Working with the parents of transgender children
Lynn Allars Walk and Talk UK24th October, 2016
- Counselling in schools
Beverley Brough (MBACP)20th October, 2016
- 5 tips to helping children to manage anger
Rachel Durrant, Integrative Counselling26th September, 2016
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.