Talking to Kids About Loss

Death, divorce, rejection, loss of physical things… Heartache comes in so many avenues. It’s complicated, something that none of us fully understand. Often, it’s hard to even comprehend ourselves.

Then, becomes even more difficult as we have to explain it to our little ones. How do we explain something that we can’t fully explain? Additionally, most times we are grieving ourselves. It leads to a very emotionally taxing experience. All while trying to keep things simple, and not overly depressing for small hearts.

I personally experienced the long term sickness and eventual loss of my dad at age twelve. It has made big implications on my life that I oftentimes don’t even realize. We’ve also experienced other loss before and since having children. None of it is easy.

This has provided abundant opportunities for us to have these conversations with our kids. They ask questions, and we want to provide them with answers. So we do. Here’s a few things we keep in mind while doing our best to support them.

  • Examine your beliefs; teach your kids from it. We are Christians and we believe that the Bible is true and it gives abundant, information about loss. We trust that it is where we should go in the hills and valleys.
  • Keep it simple. No, heartache is not simple. However, don’t make it overly complicated for little hearts. Only give your kids the information they can handle. Don’t let them be your emotional venting place. They don’t need every detail. Give them answers to their questions, but don’t over elaborate. They’ll continue to ask as they want to know. Most likely not all in one sitting, but over time.
  • Don’t try to have all the answers. Explain to your kids when you simply don’t know, “why”. We aren’t always given all the answers. Admit that to your kids. Tell them that we don’t always know all the facts, we may never know on this side of Heaven. It’s okay to grieve with them and not always be able to explain the “why”.

I pray that these conversations are few and far between for your family. I also pray that you trust. Trust that through it all our God is good, He sustains us, He loves us and He guides us.

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