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In the world of a child, loss can be devastating.

The death of a loved one is a painful and confusing experience for anyone at any age. For a child, though, it can be especially traumatic and can present special challenges for parents, grandparents and other adults in a child’s life. Children look to adults for support, answers and advice while they work their way through grief and try to develop an understanding of death.

What to do when talking to a child about death

As hard as it may be to break bad news to a child, honesty is the best policy. A white lie, however well intended, can confuse and unsettle a child when they eventually learn the truth. Likewise, explaining death to a child in euphemisms – “Grandpa went on a long trip,” for example, may instill fear in going on vacation. Difficult though it may be, it’s better to be clear, direct and up front, explaining death in straightforward phrases like “dead means a person’s body has stopped working and won’t work anymore.”

Bishop-Johnson & DeSanto Funeral Home and Bishop & DeSanto Funeral Home have helpful pamphlets available to assist with children and grief. Please call us in Hornell at 607-324-2700 or in Avoca at 607-566-2300 or in Hammondsport 607-569-2174 to learn more.