Helping children deal with the loss of a pet – Tinneys Toys
The loss of a beloved pet can be devastating for the whole family, but it is a particularly difficult time for children and young adults especially if it is the first time that they experience grief and loss first hand. There are some things which you can do to help children cope with the loss of a pet.
Be as honest as you possible can regarding the details surrounding the death of your pet. Answer any questions which they may have regarding the circumstances and do not be afraid to say that you don’t know the answer, if there are things which you cannot reply to honestly. Be sensitive when discussing euthanasia and bear in mind the age of the child when discussing this. Each age group deals with grief in it’s own way and teenagers may respond with anger and acting out while a younger child may become withdrawn and sad. Each person deals with grief in their own way and we must be sensitive to their feelings during this time. Being honest and allowing time to talk through feelings will help your child to cope with a very difficult situation.
Rituals and Saying Goodbye:
Funerals and rituals are deeply comforting at a time of loss. Depending on your spiritual beliefs and religion, it may be appropriate to have a small funeral or ceremony for your pet. Friends and family gathering to say goodbye to your loyal animal friend can be very comforting for the grieving child.
The grieving process:
There is not statute of limitations on the grieving process and a child who has been greeted by the family pet for many years of their life can fell that grief intensely some months after the death. It is important to allow them to express the loss. In all of this it is important too that you control your own emotions as a child struggling to understand death and loss will feel fearful and confused if you are a weeping wreck also. Grieve but consider the effects on the children in the house. It is good to talk about the funny things your dog, cat or hamster used to do. To reminisce together and laugh about the fun times. Watch for signs of your child struggling with grief, ongoing sadness for more than a month or more, trouble sleeping, eating or any changes in behaviour which strikes you as outside the normal grieving process.
Practical ideas for coping:
Plant a tree in the garden especially for the lost pet. This is important if you, like many of us, have a
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