It can be devastating for adults to discover that someone in the family is going to die and the thought of explaining the news to children can be extremely distressing and daunting. The time frame of the illness and the ages of the children will determine at what point they need to be told and how this can best be done.

Sometimes, parents may wish to protect their children from knowing the truth for as long as possible. It is important however, to consider the following:

  • Children usually sense when something is seriously wrong, however hard adults may try to hide things from them. Even very young children pick up on mood changes and any alterations to their usual routine.
  • Even though adults may try to keep bad news away from them, children often overhear conversations not intended for their ears
  • Children are often more able to deal with the truth and painful information than adults think they are
  • If children sense something is wrong they may invent their own explanations, which can result in them feeling upset, worried or to blame
  • Children who are not told the truth may feel resentful when they discover that other people knew the person was going to die, but they didn’t

Telling children that someone they love is going to die allows them the opportunity to begin to prepare for the death and a chance to say their goodbyes.

If you are unsure as to when to tell your children, or how to explain things to them, please contact us. We will be able to discuss your concerns and help you to find ways to talk to your children about the situation.