Golden rules for answering children’s questions
In an age where children’s film and television heroes come back to life, and where Doctor Who can die and then come back as a new character, we might wonder what sense children make of the permanence of death. At Easter time with its historical Christian message of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the focus in the media is often one of fluffy bunnies, chicks and of course chocolate Easter eggs. It’s confusing!
Unsurprisingly when a family experiences the death of someone close to them, explaining what happens when someone dies is probably the hardest thing that an adult has to do, and the hardest thing a child will have to comprehend. Being able to talk openly about it can be really important particularly for children and young people.
Even children of a young age will have an awareness of death though they may not understand the reality of the person never coming back. Slightly older children will often become very anxious about death, especially fearing the death of other members of the family or themselves. For young people having trusted family members, friends and carers who they can talk to about their feelings will be really important.
Children are masters at asking difficult and repetitive questions, it’s fundamental to how they learn and helps them to make sense of their world. Yet in a bid to protect children from the truth about what has happened when someone has died parents can unwittingly add to their children’s confusion which in turn can lead to behaviour problems, separation anxiety, fear, anger, sadness and withdrawal.
This Easter alongside the celebration of new life that surrounds us in the natural world there may be the opportunity to talk together about the natural cycle of life that has a beginning and an ending. Perhaps you could even focus on how you can make the most of every day in the lifetime we have in-between. Click here to download our golden rules for answering children’s questions about death.