Bereavement is very hard for us all to deal with, no matter how old we are. But children will find it particularly difficult to cope with death and loss, especially if they have never experienced it before. This is one reason why some parents decide to get a pet while they have children. Some parents think that the eventual death of a pet is an important life lesson for children to go through, and will help prepare them for even more significant losses.
Have you recently lost a beloved family pet? Here are some thoughtful ways to help your child come to terms with their loss.
Be Open And Honest
It is important that you talk honestly to your children about the death of their pet. Explain to them whether it was natural or if you had to take it to the vets to be put down. If the pet was euthanized, you should explain that it is no longer in pain and will not be suffering anymore. You should also tell your children that putting the animal to sleep was a really hard decision to make but, at the end of the day, it was the right one. Children might be angry hearing this, and this is to be expected. However, they will eventually emphasize and will understand the decision.
Create A Memorial
Your children may find it very soothing to make a memorial for their pet. This will help them work through their emotions and express their feelings. If the pet died at the vets, they might be cremated for you. If not, you can always take them especially to the vets to be cremated. Wondering where to look for pet urns? You can often find some attractive ones online. You can then place the urn outside and create a pretty memorial with flowers and gemstones with your children. If the pet dies at home and you want to bury it in the garden, your children might like to hold a funeral and decorate its grave.
Show Your Emotions
Some parents try to act strong around their children after the death of a pet. They think that this sets a good example and that their strength will help the children get through this difficult period. However, the very opposite is true. Children will be very upset indeed, and they may be confused or even angry when they see you acting strong. That’s because they will believe that the death hasn’t affected you. So show your emotions rather than hide them. If you feel like crying, you should do so even if it is in front of your children.
Don’t Get A New Pet Straight Away
You might be tempted to replace your pet with a new one. This isn’t a good idea, as you should give your children time to process the event and move on. Plus, no other pet will ever be able to fully replace the deceased one.
Losing a pet is a very sad time, and being there for your children can help them adjust to their loss.