Wednesday 24 April 2013

How to tell your children about someone passing away?

I hate to write sad posts but this seems quite relevant to me right now.

Recently an old family friend passed away from cancer and today I am attending the funeral. This time round it isn't anyone my children are really aware of so I haven't told them where I am going today, they are just excited to be going round to their friends house to play after school, so haven't really asked where I will be.

However it really got me thinking. People don't live on forever and unfortunately death is something we can't avoid. My own grandparents are quite old now and one day I am going to have to explain about someone passing away to my children but I really have no clue what I would say?

The first time I had to deal with a death was when my Grandad passed away, I was 15 years old. I was of an age where really I already knew what it all meant. I don't remember what I was told, I guess there wasn't a lot of explanation needed and I actually attended the funeral.

I had my children a lot younger than when my mum had myself and my brothers so I expect my children to be younger when they first experience someone passing away. My kids have always been very switched on so it isn't that I don't think they would understand, I think it is more that I don't want to upset them.  If I'm honest, I think this is one that I will probably leave up to Daddy Hazelden to explain, I think he is better with words than I am. The other thing which I will be unsure over, when is the right age to let a child attend a funeral, is there a right age?

It is one of those times where I wish there was a manual telling you what to do, I suppose with parenting there will always be tough times going along side the good times!!!

Have any of you had experience with this subject yet? What would you say?



  1. Not quite the same thin, but remember having to explain to my children that my parents dog had passed away - they love that dog so much. It was tough, but we talked about how he had gone up to live in the stars, and he was looking down on them. They accepted that, and even now still sometimes say 'Is that star Barney watching us?'

    1. I think that is a lovely way to explain it. In a way it is the same thing because we as humans form strong bonds with our pets don't we!! x

    2. We certainly do. I know its not the same as a person passing away, but to my children (and us) he was a very special dog, and we wanted to deal with it in the 'right' way - they seemed to accept it well although they were obviously upset. Hope your experience of breaking bad news is not too awful :(

  2. My Mother passed away when my children were 3 & 4. They went to see her in hospital when we knew it was terminal but she was 'well' and was able to converse with them as normal. They did not visit when she was in a coma the final week of her life. I explained she was very ill to them and she was dying. It was a hard conversation but I told them honestly what was happening all along. They had experienced a pet dying a few weeks earlier unexpectedly and we had chatted about people/animals dying. I really think the fact an animal had died helped them. They both came to the funeral and although upset behaved impeccably. We still talk about Granny now six year on and that has helped with their grief.

    My Mother was only 62 when she died from a number of strokes that caused kidney failure and had been in hospital for 2 1/2 months and my MIL is now 84 and they accept that she won't live forever and has had a 'good innings'.

    Try to be honest with them and if a person close to them is ill, explain to them what is happening. They are more resilient than you think

    1. So sorry your Mother passed away!! Vey well explained, you must be very proud of your children!!

  3. My MIL is very ill so we have had to give as much info as we think our 5 year old can handle. He seems to take on board what he needs to - but yes a manual would be good. x

    1. So sorry to hear your MIL is ill :(

      I think like you say, they take on board as much as they can handle as such.

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