Tuesday 18 January 2022

How To Have The Bad News Conversation With Kids

(Collaborative Post)

As we are heading on many journeys in life it can mean that we will invariably start to go through tough times with our children. As much as we try to protect our children and look after ourselves, there will be moments in life when we have to break bad news or we need to find out something about them that may not seem quite right. And this is why it's important that you learn to talk and have a good method of communication with them. But what does it really take to talk to your children about the big issues?

Teddy bear sitting in a rainy window

Create The Right Situation
Whatever you need to discuss you have to create the right environment so your children will listen. The first thing you need to consider is the time of day. You may not want to have a discussion in the evening but of course, it depends on the situation. If you are breaking bad news such as someone's death you have to remember that you may wish to protect them, especially if it was someone really close, but it's important to remember that when you are starting a serious conversation to not be too forceful and take a subtle approach.

Making The Conversation Relevant
Sometimes this approach can help when we are trying to speak to really young children. Sometimes when you're watching TV you may be able to immediately relate to a situation going on and use it as a way to start the conversation. When you are talking about something like death, it's not an easy thing to bring up especially if you are trying to break the bad news about something that's really affecting you. This is why you have to be relevant but also age-appropriate. Sometimes we may think about lightening the load in some way but the fact is that if you are going through the grieving process yourself you may subconsciously try to make things lighter for your sake, but making anything like this “breezy” is not beneficial. You could very well be going through the grieving process, planning the funeral, and find that the little things can set you off. So rather than making the process of purchasing cremation urns for two people something that you need to protect your child from, having the conversation is so important.

Having Realistic Expectations
Something like death is not an easy thing to discuss, which is why you may want to give them space and provide bitesize conversations over a long period of time as this allows them to process what you've been talking about and allows them to deal with the situation and ask more questions. This is a very difficult situation but you also have to remember that if you are going through the grieving process yourself and you are trying to find a funeral service and deal with the estate side of things you may not be in your best frame of mind either. And it's important to remember that you allow yourself space as well.

It's not easy to discuss difficult topics with our kids, especially ones as heavy as death, but we have to remember that in life these things will happen so it's not about protecting our children but about ensuring that they are able to deal with these things in the right way, openly and effectively.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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