For first-time parents, dealing with children who have lost their pets can be a tricky affair. Kids are very close to their pets; therefore, when they go missing or die, the effect can have a profound impact on a child's psychological well-being. As such, it is crucial for parents to handle such situations with care. Only assuming that a child will get over the loss with time or be buying them a new pet will not help. This article provides tips that parents can use to get their children through the experience of losing a pet.
Listen -- When a child loses their pet, they will cry and no matter what you say nothing will calm them down. Psychologists point out that in such instances, there is nothing to say; therefore, the best a parent can do is listen to their child. However, listening should be active. For instance, you can find an empty room to sit with your child and let them vent out all their emotions. Your child does not have to talk about the loss necessarily. The topic can be on any issue, but make sure that you listen and answer your child's questions as best as you can. Most importantly, listening assures children that you are there for them.
Do Anniversaries -- The day your child's pet died or went missing is an essential date to a child's calendar as they grow. Therefore, as a parent, you should note these dates carefully and plan for anniversaries every year. Doing this allows the child to relive the best moments with their pet and understand the experience better as time goes. However, you must involve kids a few days to an anniversary date because such commemoration might be overwhelming to them. As a parent, go with what the child decides concerning anniversaries for lost or dead pets.
Use the Right Words -- The death of a pet should be discussed as is and that means using the right words. Most parents will think that 'right words' means finding substitutes for words like death. If you want your child to get through such loss, then there is no sense in confusing them. Using phrases such as 'Pat has gone to sleep' does precisely that. It is because their understanding of sleep is that when pets fall asleep, then at some point he will wake up. On the other hand, if your kid's pet is missing and there is no likelihood of being found, then tell your child exactly that. There is no point of keeping your child's hopes high only to be heartbroken later.
For more information, contact a child psychologist near you.