The discussion in episode 37 is on a topic that most parents avoid talking about – death. Death is typically scary and brings up feelings we often do not know how to deal with. But as parents, how do you talk to your kids about death? For this episode, we interviewed Jim Reiser, Marriage & Family Therapist and Bereavement Services Coordinator at the Hospice of the North Coast. When someone close dies, how do you communicate what is going on to your kids? Different ages will require difference things, but there are a few basic things that Jim shares with us:
- Be honest
- Try to put yourself in the child’s shoes. Look at it from their perspective.
- Use the word death, instead of many different terms. It can confuse kids.
- Children are looking for guidance during these times. Give it to them.
- Give yourself permission to grieve.
- Allow your kids to see the emotion
- Be inclusive and include them in whatever is going on: funeral, meetings, etc.
- Let a child lead the discussion
Jim says that “grief creates opportunity”. This is specifically true with Jason as the creation of Dudes To Dads came from a time while he was grieving. Also, grief brings about emotion. It can be sadness, agression, anger, and many other emotions we often do not recognize as grief.
For our podcast listeners, Jim offered his contact information to help anyone who needs assistance. You can call the Hospice of the North Coast at 760.431.4100 and ask for Jim Reiser.