Children and Death

The death of a grandparent may be a child's first experience with that last stage of life on this earth. Parents want to be helpful to their young children as they mourn their loss but don't always know what to say. We have a number of books in our church library written to help. They are good to share with your elementary age child before a death occurs so that some understanding will already be there when it happens. They are also valuable to share together as you work through your grief after a death. Victor Parachin has written some guidelines on helping a child deal with death for an article in Children's Ministry. They include the following:

  1.  Use simple, concrete language.
  2. Avoid euphemisms. You can image the problems when a young child hears "Grandmother is sleeping" or "We lost daddy today."
  3. Give ample reassurance. A child's grief may be increased by fear. Give constant loving reassurance.
  4. Be a role model. Be genuine about your grief and do not try to put up a false front. A child is very confused when our words say one thing but our actions show a different message.
  5. Emphasize God's love. Remind your child that God loves us and wants to help us. We can bring all of our fears and worries to Him.
 Take time to help a child cope with death and he will develop the coping skills he needs.
--Carol Locke, Lebanon, Tennessee

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun01.