Helping Children Cope With Pet Loss Grief

Posted on September 15, 2012
Filed Under Self Improvement | Leave a Comment

The addition of a pet in the family is a decision that parents make, usually to make their children happy. For many kids, pets are not just playmates. They are creatures that bring joy to them, teach them the value of responsibility, relieve their stress, and as a whole make good friends. Considering this, it is safe to assume that during the entire stay of a pet in any household, most of the hours are spent with children. Thus, with the passing away of the pet, children are bound to go through pet loss grief. As a mom or dad, you are probably faced with the challenge of helping your child recover from the loss. The reason is that you, yourself, might be having a hard time dealing with the situation. However since you are the adult, you should take the initiative to help the kids out.

In this pursuit, it is imperative for parents to keep in mind that patience is important. Children have the tendency to bring up the topic repeatedly so be patient. Apart from this, you have to give your children the chance to deal with their grief. Let them express their grief openly and let them see you express your grief as well. Always make sure that when you talk about what happened, you do it with all honesty. Also in the same way that Christian counseling experts would, you have to talk about death and grief in the manner that kids can comprehend. Avoid telling them that God took the pet or the pet has just gone to sleep. These might lead them to develop fears such as the fear of God taking them or their loved ones away and fear of sleeping. It is also recommended to involve your children to activities pertaining to the loss. Let them participate in the memorial service. Allow them to contribute ideas to how the memorial service should be done. If in any case a child doesn’t want to join the service, let him have that liberty as well.

Also, you should not forget that part of helping your kid cope up with the loss is to teach him that death is permanent. Further, don’t commit the mistake of immediately getting another pet to replace the lost one. This might bring about feelings of disloyalty in kids and can also make them think that grief for the death of someone can be overcome just by getting a replacement. Even while pet loss grief cannot be considered as serious as substance abuse counseling, it has to be done with caution too. Trying to educate yourself on how you can do it well can contribute a lot to your recovery and your kids’ recovery, most importantly. As always, be patient and never forget to hug and reassure your kids.

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