Helping Children Cope with Loss
Many of us can admit that we avoid discussing death with our children and try to keep them away from this difficult and unfamiliar event. Though in reality children face death constantly through their own family loses and through multi media. Instead of keeping them away from death we have to help them express their grief which will lead to a healthier child.
It is important that we spend time with our children and listen to their questions. We should never assume we know how a child is feeling. It is important to be educated on how a child perceives death so we can help them understand how to cope with the loss.
From the moment a child is born they are constantly changing physically and emotionally. Some children endure physical changes such as feeling sick when they experience grief. They may find it difficult to concentrate and do the daily activities they normally do, sometimes may even act out. Children really do want to understand death and make sense of it, but they need us to guide them.
Children are influenced by the way we act so it is important that we help show them the process of healing by remembering their beloved friend. Through drawing pictures, telling stories, watching videos, talking to people about the pet who knew them, making a scrap book, planting a tree, or making a donation in memory of their friend are all ways in which your child can be involved to help them get through the grief process.
Children should be offered the opportunity to be involved in the selection of the disposition and the mourning of the pet. This helps the child face the reality that their pet has died and an opportunity for them to say good-bye. They should not be forced to be involved, but only if they want to.