How you broach your pet’s death will depend on the age of your child and his previous experience with death. However here are some do’s and don’ts.
- Children identify strongly with pets.
- Be truthful during their illness.
- If you tell a child “theres nothing to worry about” and the pet dies the child could be traumatised when he receives the same reassurance before a routine operation that he has to undergo.
- Never tell the child that he is acting like a baby – show him that it is all right to express his feelings.
- Children are inquisitive. They may ask detailed and repetitive questions about death. If you cannot answer, ask your pastor or vet to help.
- When you first got the pet you may have lectured to the child on how the pet was his responsibility. Be sure now that he knows that he is not responsible in any way for the death.