Dealing with any kind of loss with a child or children is a task that most adults dread. Best friends can move away, a car can kill a favorite pet, a schoolmate can be killed in an auto accident, and Grandma may die suddenly are all situations that parents can face. In any case, a parent should handle the loss with dignity and quality so the child learns how to deal by comparison.
These are especially difficult times for a parent if they were close to the deceased individual too. Handling their own grief and explaining the process to a child can be a catharsis which enables the parent to stay grounded in their own pain. Often, teaching and sharing at a hard time helps improve understanding and communication between parent and child, a time of bonding that can be very rewarding.
It always helps if the parent or parents are firm in their own belief system and have formed a personal life philosophy from which they can extract explanations that will be easily understood by the child. A philosophy of life consists of knowing: you can excel, that there will be up times and down, that it takes strength of character and courage to follow life?s path. Well-grounded parents will also understand that expressing their own emotions in a healthy manner helps the child to do so too.
The questions that a young mind may ask will challenge the strength and resolve of your own philosophy about our life here on earth and in the hereafter. It helps to think about the questions they might ask in advance so you are prepared to answer them. You are the child?s only source of knowledge in this arena, so take time to do this job well.
Many young children have seen a new baby enter the home, or maybe a classmate moved to another city, so they already have ideas about the processes of life. Death and loss are not to be feared, but to be understood as just part of life.
It helps if you have a philosophy, religion or church that can provide a basis for your belief system. But, no matter what your beliefs consist of, you want to build confidence in your child?s mind that life is a good thing, filled with wonderful experiences, people and places, and even though all things must come to an end, your faith in yourself, your religion and God will carry you through.
Parents, grandparents, or guardians will want to think these concepts through in advance if at all possible, so they are ready to give the best available guidance to the children in their lives. Purchase books on the subject for you and your child, and discuss them before a death occurs. Knowledge is power when confronting life; give that gift to your child and yourself.
Keith E. Renninson is a motivational speaker and co-author of the popular parenting tool and illustrated storybook “Zooch the Pooch, My Best Friend”. Through the 1990’s with much self-examination, academic study, bicycle racing, and mountain climbing, he discovered a renewed zest of life, which included a love of metaphysics, philosophy, humor, and writing and speaking. As Keith says, “Some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue…it’s all in what you make of it.” You can read more about “Zooch the Pooch” or contact Keith to speak at: http://www.zoochthepooch.com
Keith and his co-author Michael Conrad Kelley speak to teens and adults on “The Seven Simple Steps to a More Fulfilling Life.” This course focuses on how to build a successful Life Philosophy that works for each individual.
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