3 Tips For Helping Your Child Grieve Their Pet
Death is a part of life. Even though you know this in the back of your mind, you can never really prepare for the loss of a loved one. Children, especially, will have a hard time coping with the loss of a family member or friend, but they can also struggle after the death of their beloved pet. If you and your family have recently lost a pet, help is available. These tips will ensure your child can navigate the grieving process in the healthiest manner possible.
Allow them to Grieve
There are some people who believe grieving over a pet is not acceptable. Unfortunately, these individuals may not have ever experienced the unconditional love a pet can bring to their lives. It is important to remember that your pet was more than just a pet — it was and is a family member, so make sure your child understands it is ok to grieve.
Allow your child to cry, letting out the physical effects of their emotions. Simply crying can remove a great deal of tension in your child's body, which is important for navigating the physical distress of grief.
In addition to crying, your child should be able to share memories with the family without negative repercussions. Sharing memories should not upset others in the family — it should help you all grieve together.
Hold a Memorial
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your pet's death, holding a memorial service can be beneficial for not only your child but also the rest of the family.
If you will be burying your pet, make sure your child is part of this experience. If you are cremating your pet, ask your child whether the remains should be stored in an urn at home or scattered in a favorite spot. Let your child be a part of the decision-making process.
Have your child say a few special words about your pet, as well, during the service. They can also share a few special items with your pet. Let your child choose a favorite toy or a picture that can be buried with the pet.
Seek Professional Care
It is also acceptable to seek our professional care to help deal with your child's grief. You should never feel ashamed to ask for professional help about grieving the loss of a pet since they are considered close family members.
Professionals will teach your child the best way to deal with their grief to reduce the risk of depression, severe anxiety, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, which can affect them later on in their life.
For more information about counseling for children, contact a center like Pope Behavioral Health and Wellness.