Parenting through death and grief. A child stands alone with a ratty doll.

This week’s conversation is about managing the big emotions surrounding death, loss, and grief in your family.  Specifically, how do we handle someone in the family passing?  How do we respond death, and how do we help our children respond to it?

Just saying the word death can elicit powerful emotions, feelings of dread, and memories of past grief.  Our goal this week is to help parents understand how these emotions are experienced by children of all developmental stages, and how their own feelings of loss and grief can be shared honestly and responsibly with their children.

For guidance on more temporary forms of loss and aloneness, you can listen to our episode on separation and separation anxieties here.  Many of the approaches discussed in this episode will hold true even when confronting the permanence of death.

“A newborn can’t talk about their emotions, but they do feel things.  And they especially feel things that their mother and father feel.  From birth onward, we know that emotions are shared across people living together.  Even if nothing is said at all.”

– Arthur Lavin

Episode Highlights:

– How death and grief are experienced in infants and toddlers.

– The importance of sharing stories to cope with loss.

– How preschool children comprehend death, loss, and grief.

– When children understand the finality of death.

– Tips for safely illustrating the meaning of death to young children.

– Breaking the news to a child that a loved one has died.

– How to help school-aged children with death-related worries and anxieties.