Part One of a weeklong series.
Let’s talk about death.
It has been my experience that many nonreligious parents falter when it comes to death talks with their kids because, without religion or heaven or the hope of an afterlife, these parents are left with a void to fill. They want to help reduce their children’s anxiety about death (and their own!), but don’t know where to turn.
The attitude seems to be: “If I can’t talk about heaven, then there’s not much left to say.”
But that’s not true. Heaven isn’t the only tool in our proverbial toolbox. It’s not even the best. There are other things we can give children in lieu of heaven. Things far more concrete and, in many ways, more comforting, too. One of them is science.
Adults tend to focus their worry on the emotional aspects of death — how it feels to lose someone we love, how we would cope without them. But children of a certain age — particularly preschoolers — aren’t as consumed by the grief aspect of death. Focusing on the science of death is a great way to “normalize” death talks for you both, and give you a solid foundation for speaking about death as a natural phenomenon, rather than a terrifying inevitability. [Read more...]