A friend called me the other day asking advice about talking to her children about death. Her mother-in-law is dying of Cancer and her 11 year old twins are starting to ask questions. My heart goes out to her and her family. I can only imagine what her children may be thinking and feeling.
This is just one example of an issue that most people will eventually face one day if they have not already. I have two children and I began to think about how I will introduce the topic of mortality to them. The world our children live in is completely different than the world most of us grew up in. When I was a child, no one talked to me about death. I just figured it out and coped through laughter because that is what my mother did. But today, with more information at our fingertips, our children are exposed to a lot more tragedy. Think of September 11th. I know I felt hopeless on that day. I can only imagine how a child watching the 9/11 coverage must have felt.
In my work with children and adolescents I love to use books to open the conversation about death. Books are a great way to allow children to use their imagination and speak freely about the subject. One of my favorites, When Someone Very Special Dies by Marge Heegaard, offers an opportunity for children to use drawing to express their feelings about change and death. Children sometimes do not have the words to describe how they are feeling. Drawing allows them to speak freely and it also allows you, as the parent, to guide the conversation.
Check out the book here: http://www.amazon.com/When-Someone-Very-Special-Dies/dp/0962050202/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370542073&sr=8-2&keywords=books+on+grief+for+kids