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How to Prepare Children for the Death of a Parent

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If you are terminally ill, it is natural to want to keep your children in the dark with the hope that you will get better. However, in case you do not recover even after receiving treatment, you might have no other choice but to break the news to your kids. Children of different ages handle grief differently.

You might want to protect your little children and teenagers from the news that you will not get better, but eventually, they will notice the changes. Being honest about the situation will prepare them for your demise. It will also give them an opportunity to say their goodbyes. If you are staying in a hospice in Indiana and you are not likely to heal, here is how to prepare your children for your demise:

Use simple, clear words to explain what death is

Younger kids will understand what death entails if you explain it in simple terms. Do not use scary words to break the news. Be gentle when talking to them. For instance, you can say, “I have some sad news to tell you today.” Pause to allow them to digest the words. Then say, “I am about to go to Heaven.” If you are not ready to talk about it, ask someone whom you trust to break the news.

Tell them that you have tried your best to prevent your demise

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You should emphasize that your doctors, nurses, and relatives have tried their best to keep you alive. Unfortunately, the medication was not working, and at this point, nothing else can be done. Doing so will allow them to let go because they will understand that it was nobody’s fault. They will have no reason to blame themselves because they know that they did nothing wrong.

Answer their questions

At some point, whether immediately or later, your little ones will want to know more about dying or your illness. Children are usually imaginative, and when stressed, their imagination can scare them, especially when they try to make sense of everything that is happening. Also, do not talk about it directly. With that in mind, when they want to be open about their feelings by asking questions, do not stop them. Let your children find answers to their inquiries.

Consider their age

It is difficult to know how your little ones will respond to death or if they can even grasp the idea. That is why you should not give too much information at the beginning. Little kids do not realize the permanency that death brings, especially in the onset. They might feel that eventually, you will come back. School-going kids understand that death is permanent, but they might still have questions.

Ultimately, your children might hear you when you talk to other adults about your possible demise. Learning about your death as a third party might confuse them and make grieving challenging for them. Consider breaking the news to them. Doing so will give them an opportunity to ask questions and attain closure.

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