How to speak to your kids about dying? | EUROtoday

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unLego. This is what troubled Temana, 8 years outdated, firstly of the yr. “My son swallowed a small brick,” says Bertrand, father of 4 kids. As he mentioned it was scratching his throat, we determined to take him to the emergency room, which isn’t essentially our standard observe. » The “rather anxious” boy was reluctant to take exams. Nothing alarming after the scans and the little piece of plastic was evacuated naturally a number of days later.

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The anecdote could seem banal, but it surely had penalties on the day by day lifetime of the Parisian household. “Several weeks after the incident, Temana still couldn’t sleep,” explains the 43-year-old civil servant. After a number of makes an attempt at dialogue, he informed us that he was afraid of dying. »

consciousness of dying

Dying and seeing family members disappear. It’s an nervousness that may grip many kids. And a concern that, maybe, some dad and mom proceed to face. In some ways, dying nonetheless represents a taboo in society immediately. Discussing it together with your kids is due to this fact not a simple factor. Some dad and mom could also be helpless when confronted with these questions, feeling a way of horrible powerlessness.

“Many adults have difficulty understanding death and talking about it. They themselves may have received little support when they were younger and do not prefer to discuss this subject, explains Lise Barthélémy, doctor in child psychiatry. But, it's a discussion that needs to be had and refusing to put words to it can have long-term consequences. »

READ ALSO “Nannies” and confidants, grandparents working (too) full time? If there isn’t any specific age to evoke the cycle of life, the secret is to have the ability to adapt to kids and circumstances. “Generally, awareness of death begins around the age of five or six,” she says. It is at this stage that the kid understands the non-permanence of life. But the topic of dying may be broached earlier, or later, relying on questions and occasions that come up throughout the household. »

When her husband's grandfather died, Alice needed to have this awkward dialog along with her 3-year-old and 5 1/2-year-old sons. “With their dad, we explained to them that they would no longer see their great-grandfather, because he was no longer alive,” remembers the 32-year-old Parisian mom. That's once they talked about our personal dying and theirs. »

At house, the top of life has by no means been taboo. Quite the opposite. “Due to my profession – oncology nurse with palliative care – I have always talked to my children about death since they were born,” she explains. Some individuals may discover this creepy, but it surely's part of life. »

Walt Disney and kids's literature

How to strategy the topic with a toddler? Should we ritualize this second? “When a family member dies, it is important to hear the child's emotion, to say that even if the person is no longer there, they can be kept in memory, in their head and heart, comments Dr Lise Barthélémy. Some people can use cartoons to talk about it: many Walt Disney films begin with the death of a parent. »

It was Alice's choice who relied on stories, particularly books and animated films, to open the discussion. “I'm Cartesian, so I told them that once a person dies, they will never come back. What's left will be the memory, she says. However, I also explained to them that we do not think the same thing depending on our beliefs. And they are free to believe whatever they want. »

A Catholic, Bertrand, for his part, relied on religion. “We told our son that death was a stage of life, that this made it beautiful and important,” he explains. And I targeted on the “wonderful” aspect, within the “magical” sense, of a life that begins once more after dying, in paradise. »

What concerning the funeral?

The truth stays that, when a mother or father is themselves confronted with the lack of a liked one, asserting it to their kids can appear insurmountable. Which is “not a problem in itself”, for the kid psychiatrist. “What is very important is that the parent speaks with their emotion,” she explains. If he’s too affected by a dying, it’s important that he manages to set limits, to say “this is too hard for me”. In this case, the second mother or father or a relative can take over. » Thus, the kid will perceive the emotions even when he can’t essentially “name them”. This means, the bereaved mother or father will have the ability to “defer the discussion”, with out avoiding it both.

What concerning the funeral? Should you’re taking your baby there? The baby psychiatrist additionally advises giving recommendation primarily based on the conditions and the maturity of the kid. “We can explain to the child what is going to happen and ask them if they want to be there or not. With, always as a condition, a referent adult to take care of him – someone who is not directly affected by the bereavement,” she signifies. In his eyes, funerals are a part of “the ritual of adults, and it’s important that the kid is conscious of this ceremony, that he is aware of how our society views dying. »