6 Tips to Help your Child Cope with Pet Death
Here's what parents can do to comfort a child who has lost their pet. Grown up and serious, we know not to humanize animals. But pets inevitably become full members of the family. It doesn't matter who we are talking about: a cat, a dog, a hamster, a fish or a parrot. Therefore, the death of a pet causes sincere grief. And if parents, due to the experience of past years, most often cope with emotions and experiences on their own, then the child needs support.
How can you help children cope with the loss of a pet?
Give Your Child the Opportunity to Express Their Emotions and Fears
For any person, big or small, the death of a loved one is an ordeal. Do not force the child to suppress emotions, do not reproach for excessive display of feelings.
Be there, comfort, use active listening and empathy. Perhaps he will blame himself or you for what happened. Gently convince him that no one, let alone him, is to blame.
Talk Openly About Death
Do not be afraid to say this word, do not hide the fact that death is inevitable. In the future, this will help the child to cope with similar situations more easily. Don't say that your pet ran away or was given to someone. Don't mislead your kid. If the child is still small enough, and the animal has been euthanized, avoid the word "put to sleep" - this can scare him, cause unnecessary associations, new fears and even neuroses. Be prepared for questions about death - what it is and why someone is dying. You may have to talk about whether loved ones will die. Consult with a psychologist if you can't find the right words, but don't be fooled.
Don't Hide Your Emotions
You not only can, but must openly manifest your grief as well. There are no wrong emotions. If your child sees that you are grieving, it will be easier for him to get over the loss. Empathy will support him, will not allow him to remain lonely in his grief.
Remember Everything Pleasant, Funny that Was Associated with Your Favorite
Have a memorial evening. Check out the photos and videos, if any. Think of funny stories about your pet. Talk to your child about all the good things that have been associated with this animal.
The parable of the Rainbow Bridge, which is crossed by all deceased pets, has been popular on the Internet for many years. They go to a place where they are happy and full of energy.
Draw with your child a Rainbow Bridge and a departed pet on it - let him make this transition in the baby's mind.
Turn to Cinematography
Watch the old cartoon "All Dogs Go to Heaven" together. Its main character Charlie, a cross between a German shepherd and a mongrel, had already died once, but managed to return, since he had unresolved business. This funny and touching story will help to reiterate the fact that death, alas, cannot be avoided.
Take Your Time to Get a New Pet
Take your time, give your family and yourself the opportunity to realize the loss and live the grief to the end. The new pet will not replace the old one, even if it looks exactly the same. He will have different habits and character. And if he appears in the house too early, his obvious difference from the deceased friend will only exacerbate the suffering of the baby.
Very often pets, regardless of their size, breed and appearance, become family members. And when they die, loss is real grief.
Many parents refuse to have pets precisely because of the relatively short life span. They do not know how to help a child get through this sad event. But death is also a part of our life. And if the child learns to cope with the loss, in the future it will be much easier for him to realize and endure the situation of a loved one leaving.
Take care of yourself and your pets!
With love, DogRook!