walmart foot massager

LDS Family Counselor: Children Coping With Death

As an LDS family counselor, I know that dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult for everyone; but grief is especially difficult for children to come to grips with.  Because death is everywhere in movies, TV and video games, children aren’t unfamiliar with the concept but experiencing it firsthand can be confusing.  If you are a parent whose child is faced with the death of someone they love, your job isn’t to try to keep him from feeling sad or grieving, it’s to encourage him to express his feelings and to help him develop coping skills that will serve him well into adulthood.

➧ Be Direct With Your Child

When discussing death with a child, never use euphemisms that may be scary, like saying that the dead person has simply “gone to sleep.”  Not only can that kind of euphemism make your child afraid of bedtime, it can also interfere with his ability to develop healthy coping skills that he’ll need in the future.

➧ Be Age-Appropriate In Your Discussion Of Death

It’s important not to volunteer too much information to very young children, as this can be overwhelming.  While they understand that death is a bad thing, they have no concept of the permanence of death.  Keep the discussion with younger children simple and without details.  Older children understand that death is forever and will likely be harder hit by a death.  They may also want more information about why and how a person died.  Answer your older child’s questions as best you can.

➧ Encourage Your Child To Express His Feelings

Don’t try to suppress your child’s emotions when it comes to death even if what he’s feeling makes you uncomfortable.  Read one of the many books about death that are written for children with him and encourage him to talk.  Don’t be disturbed if his feelings are unexpected or turbulent or not “sad enough.”  Children cope with emotional situations differently than adults and there really is no wrong response to death.  You must also show your child when you are upset or sad – though you shouldn’t indulge in explosive or overwrought demonstrations of grief – as this will let them know that feeling sad is okay.

➧ Don’t Force Your Child To Attend A Funeral

Funerals can be very intense and overwhelming for children.  Older children may get some help from being around others who are feeling the way they’re feeling; but younger children may just end up being scared and upset.  No matter how young or old they are, tell your child that there are other ways to memorialize the person who died, including planting a tree for them or sharing stories about them.

➧ Get Help from an LDS family counselor 

If your child is unusually upset over a prolonged period of time, he may be having a difficult time adjusting to the loss he has experienced.  This can be an adjustment disorder that requires the help of a mental health professional.  Don’t let your child’s grief, pain or confusion engulf him – get the help of an LDS family counselor.


Dealing with death, especially the death of a loved one, is never easy.  For children, the process of grieving and coping is a difficult one.  When you don’t know what to say to your child, get the help of an LDS family counselor by calling us at Insight Child & Family Counseling at (972) 426-9500.  You can also visit to find out more about our services.

Comments are closed.