Thanks so much for coming by to check out Episode 184 of The New Family Podcast where we explore how we can talk to kids about death in honest ways that they can understand.
In our culture, we don’t like talking about death. Most of us will do almost anything to avoid broaching the subject, and when we do we use a lot of euphemisms to avoid words like dead or dying, preferring terms like “passed away” or “gone” instead. But my guest on today’s show really wants to help us get over our qualms about discussing this important aspect of the human experience. Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller has devoted her professional life to death and dying. She’s a leading expert on end of life care, a TEDx speaker, a professor, a mom, and now author of a new book called, Talking About Death Won’t Kill You: The Essential Guide to End of Life Conversations. Our jobs as parents entail us to prepare our kids to face and understand various aspects of life, and sooner or later, that’s gonna include the death of a loved one. Kathy gives us some guidance on how we can explain death to our children in age appropriate ways.
Kathy’s Parenting Advice
“Don’t be fearful of the conversation. Our children are resilient, they’re curious and they’re going to have lots of questions. It’s OK to let our kids know that we don’t have all the answers but that it’s something that we’re going to work to figure out how to integrate in our day-to-day. And I would also say that it’s important to recognize that children want to be supportive of other people who are going through the impending death, or grieving the death of someone close to them as well. So while we can’t necessarily provide all the answers to some of the existential questions that children might produce, we can give them some concrete ways how they can help a friend, how they can listen, how they can give hugs, how they can talk about the person who has died, and those are the things that they can carry with them to help them to develop a healthier relationship with dying and death.”
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