Important article on when and how you should tell a child that someone they love is dying.
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The article, Heins: When should you tell a child that a loved one is dying?, states
“My 79-year-old husband is dying of cancer. Now he is on hospice care at home. He is disfigured (face), has trouble talking, and is obviously very ill. Our grandsons are four and seven. They used to visit him frequently before he got sick but haven’t seen him for several months. They have been told he is too sick to play. Should they see him at home to say goodbye? Should they go to the funeral?”
Tough questions. Life brings us all painful realities. Instinctively we try to shield our children from pain but it is not always possible. The reality of life is that death follows.
When should you tell a child that a loved one is dying? It was wise parenting to have already told these children about Grandpa’s sickness.
How do parents and grandparents tell young children that their grandfather will soon die? I believe in both truth and timeliness. Then children understand that grownups are “askable” and trustworthy.
Always tell children the truth using developmentally appropriate words.”
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