Death is one of the taboo subjects par excellence. We do not want to talk about it, not even thinking about it, because it hurts, scary, or is not being prepared. If it happens we have to explain to our son / daughter that someone close has died, we may find ourselves in the situation of not knowing how to act, hoping that our daughter or son suffers as little as possible.
How can we do it?
1. Who has to communicate? People close, usually the parents, or failing that, uncles or grandparents.
2. When? As soon as possible, it will only delay it more difficult.
3 How? Choose a quiet place, preferably the child or the child knows. It is very useful to prepare in advance the information we want to convey. Uses a soft voice but firm, avoiding hesitation.
4 Make sure your child understands that girl or something irreversible. If they are small, their concept of death is like a journey, the end of which the person again. You may have to remind you that the person will not return.
5. Your child has to be very clear that death is natural, is not something that the person did because I wanted (the subject of suicide I refer to another article, it requires special consideration.). Make sure you do not think he left because he wanted to go.
6 Often remind that sadness is temporary, and that all of us will recover. Give space to mourn and comfort him.
7. Answer to all your questions. Their concerns may be of the type “who take care of me now,” “where to go to eat after school” or “who will take me to the park.” If you do not yet answer’s, let calmly, transmitting it may be, will not be alone and never alone.
If we follow these guidelines, we have some steps that will help us in these difficult times. However, they often fall in an attempt to protect our daughter or son, in some mistakes to avoid. The most common are:
It has changed jobs, has gone away, has gone to live in another country. The child understands with what the person forgot to say goodbye because I did not want him. Euphemisms not help, so we have to be able to say “died” with maximum clarity.
Tell him not to cry, not angry or not scream. In this way, we are leaving alone or with a single to small intense emotions that can not manage. We must respect them, normalize, and encourage him to express.
In case of terminal illness, do not let go to the hospital to say goodbye, fearing that traumatizing to see the family in that situation. Nothing further. If you previously explain everything you will see, the child will unfold without difficulty, and will have the privileged opportunity to say goodbye.
Do not let the child go to the funeral or burial, or see the deceased. Of course, age influences and the final decision is for adults, but in general, you can feel excluded and out of place if you do not go. Be allowed to attend and explain everything beforehand will see: what is the funeral home, what is the funeral, what a coffin, what condolences, why people cry or be angry, etc.
Not to mention the deceased, and require you to do the same. You need to speak, remember, and reposition the person emotionally. Sadness becomes memory only if we talk about it.
Hide our own emotions. Just he is perceiving and excited child can believe that is wrong.
Finally, it is recommended to create what is called “culture of death”, something much needed in our society. Rituals, farewells, the mourning, etc, are very powerful, because they help us to make the match completely. We tend to think that talking about death to our children will be afraid, or traumatize them. Quite the contrary, will prepare for an inevitable fact of life, so the more prepared better. If the first time to talk about death is when someone has died, it will be much more difficult to carry out, while if it is something that is spoken at home naturally, everyone will fit more easily.
Fear not introduce your child painful things. It’s painful to have to do without knowing, because nobody taught him earlier. Take a deep breath and forth.