When a death occurs in the family, one of the foremost concerns for parents is how to break the news to a child. It is our hope, if you find yourself in that heart-ache position, that you will find some clear and practical guidance here. Let the following suggestions guide you.
1. TELL YOUR CHILD ABOUT THE DEATH
Do not try to "protect" your children, or yourself, from the emotional pain you might experience by telling them about a death that has occurred. In their efforts to protect, parents actually aid in handicapping their children from being able to handle death and grief in a healthy manner (Wolfelt, 1998).
2. BE HONEST
Children want to be "told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." (Dougy Center, 1999a). This is especially true for teenagers. Do not try to "protect" your child from the truth. Falsehood and the lack of information will always hurt more.