Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Death, the taboo par excellence of our society. We never talk about it, especially in the presence of children. It is a concept that is opposed to the light-heartedness typical of childhood and simply does not apply to children. But children also understand. And even children die. So is silence the best approach? Death is part of life and children have to face it. Whether it's the death of a bunny, grandfather, aunt and something that concerns them firsthand. It is important to tell, remember and talk about it. We adults have a responsibility to understand and deal with our emotions and give explanations to children. The ways to choose to deal with the speech must obviously be age-appropriate, allow them time to mourn and express their emotions. Always answer their questions, avoid banality and superficiality. The child indeed needs clarity. If he is told that his grandfather "is sleeping but will not wake up" it may happen that he begins to have difficulty falling asleep for fear of death. If he is told that his aunt "went on vacation but can't come back to him" he may even feel unworthy of the love of his aunt who prefers to be on vacation rather than spend time with him. Lies are therefore very counterproductive and, in most cases, only cause further anxieties and negative thoughts. The truth always and in any case. The child needs to know they can trust and telling him the truth will strengthen the trust he has in you. And the same is true if the child himself suffers from a disease that will lead to his death. Don't lie to him. Don't ask for the doors of dialogue. They know perfectly well how things stand and they need someone who can listen to them, can welcome their emotions and can reassure them. Finally, we don't hide our pain. A bereavement inevitably brings pain and suffering with it. Don't hide it from your child, they will notice anyway. Explain that you are sad and for what reason. This will make them much more likely to tell you about their own emotions.