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How To Deal With Grieving Children When A Pet Dies

Pet Loss Grief

picture of a cross at a pet cemetryThe final ending of life is death. This concept may be easy to grasp but its effect may leave people devastated. The bond between children and their pets are unique and special. For a child his pet may provide companionship, love, entertainment, friendship etc. A child may consider his pet to be the closest living thing with which he can share his secrets, emotions, thoughts and such other feelings. Pets for children may be a perfect example of unconditional love, affection and loyalty. Children generally spend a lot of time with their pets, like playing with them, going for a walk with them, sleeping with them, watching television with them and so on. When the beloved pet of a child dies the special bond that they shared is broken and the child does not know how to tackle the situation. This article offers some suggestions for how to deal with grieving children when a pet dies.

Parents may ask how to deal with grieving children when a pet dies? The reality is there is no definite answer to this question as different children may react in different manner, depending upon the depth of the relationship that they shared with their pets, their age, and personality. A child on the death of his pet may feel sad, guilty, depressed, lonely, angry, betrayed and anxious, all at the same time. Such a situation is very tough for a child to handle and parents must provide the utmost support, understanding and sympathy.

 Feelings of Grief

In order to comfort their children parents should not give them false hopes, or try to replace the old pet with a similar looking one. The death of the pet may be a good time to reveal the true facts about life. The example of changing seasons can be a good way to make a child understand about life and death. The spring season can be compared with birth and winter season with death. Small children at first may not be ready to accept the truth and they may ask numerous questions. It is very important to answer these questions with patience and honesty.

Most children have their first experience of death with a pet, and in most cases, the pet may not be the traditional furry friend but a small pet such as a fish

Most children have their first experience of death with a pet, and in most cases, the pet may not be the traditional furry friend but a small pet such as a fish

After the death of their pets some children may exhibit drastic behavioral changes like getting angry regarding trivial matters, isolation from friends and family etc. Parents should note these changes and take time to talk with their children. Children should be encouraged to speak about their emotions, to express their fears and sorrows. Criticizing or judging a child for his reactions may not give favorable results. Grief is the natural outcome of the death of a loved one; therefore children should not feel ashamed to cry as it is a natural process to vent such feelings.

 

Parents must involve their children and ask for their suggestions regarding the funeral or memorial service for their pets. Family members and friends can write special massages regarding the good moments that they had spent with the pet. The child whose pet has died can be encouraged to write a good bye letter to his pet. It is very essential to make the child realize that the pet was loved by the entire family and everyone is sorry about the loss. Parents often have video recordings of special times that their children have spent with their pets. Showing such recordings can bring back the sweet memories which can be comforting for the child.

 Strategies to Deal with Pet Grief

Drawing pictures of the pet, placing a headstone at the site of burial, planting small plants in memory of the pet, donating money to charity for animals etc. are activities that a child can do in memory of his dead pet. Children may have their own ideas of what would give peace to the spirit of their dead pet. Parents should not ridicule should ideas. As a way of comforting their children parents can also share their stories of how they reacted to the death of their favorite pet or how they dealt with the situation.

Time is the biggest healer and this is the foremost point that should be considered while answering the question of how to deal with grieving children when a pet dies. With time the child will learn to live without his pet but the memory will always stay. Sympathy, love and compassion of parents can quickly heal the wounded heart of a child who has lost his or her beloved pet. To learn more about pet loss grief counseling, access here.

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