How to talk to children about death?

At the moment, this topic is very popular in our home. Death is a part of life. Someone is very afraid of death, others are completely calm about it. But how to talk about it with children? My own experience has been that we have walked in the cemetery, for example, and children have begun to ask about death. From a very young age. If you have tradition to go to church sometimes, then death will definitely be a topic. What are these rocks in the earth? Why are they there? Whose names are written on them? Finding out that people being dug into the ground by the rocks is certainly very scary for children at first, but then they start asking further and we understand that while someone’s death can be a very sad experience, it is also an inevitable and natural part of life.

Photo by Mayron Oliveira on Unsplash

In some cultures, ther is tradition that a person who dies is kept for several days in a chapel and family and friends can go there to say goodbye. The coffin is open and the dead person is wearing beautiful clothes. Nevertheless, as a result of waiting for several days, brown and black spots begin to appear on the body of the deceased. Most people know that this is natural. The body begins to break down, the physical forces do their job. But the child does not know it. Itsees its beloved family member very differently than e its used to. This experience is unpleasant for anyone, but it can be shocking for a child.

I was thinking here that today we know so much about psychology, development, spiritual life, and physical laws. But in the past, when people lived without knowing it all and without thinking for too long about it, this all was so common. There was no doubt as to whether it was good or bad for the child, it just was, and children learned different aspects of life early through experience. Was that good? Should the child take part of the funeral ceremonies in full? Or would it be better to keep them away from something?

I will not answer that question. And I think that even if people can have a definite understanding of it, life still goes its own way. A dead person can be found in places other than the chapel and in a controlled areas. However, if this can be controlled, the question inadvertently arises as to how far the adult’s obligation to the child extends.