As adults, we sometimes forget how difficult it can be for children to understand the concept of forever. But a child’s natural curiosity will soon remind us that there are many questions going through their mind as you prepare to place a loved one in their final resting place. Children handle grief in very different ways, and the last thing that you want to do is add to their stress with unanswered questions or confusing answers. Cremation in particular is a hard topic, because while even younger children can understand the meaning of “final sleep”, cremation is difficult even for adults to grasp at times.
Nothing is Taboo
One of the most important things to remember is that children will not understand why something cannot be mentioned. And it’s unlikely that they will consider any question off limits. They are also quite likely to bring up challenging questions at the most inopportune times, such as during the ceremony itself, so it’s best to answer as many questions as possible upfront and encourage an open dialog with children in your care.
It can be quite difficult to understand cremation and the reasons that individuals choose to go this route, and explaining it to a child in terms that they can understand may be next to impossible if you’re still struggling with the decision yourself. Read our post on funeral terms and also on why people choose cremation to get some background on the topics and ensure that you’ll be able to answer questions naturally and in your own voice. Keep explanations as simple as possible and follow each child’s lead to determine how deeply they want to delve into this challenging topic.
Cremation is a very personal choice, one that some people enter because they are afraid of the dark, do not like closed spaces, prefer a lighter impact on the environment, and any number of other reasons. What is important is that you respect the choice and teach the child in your care to respect it as well. While cremation is not for everyone, ensure you are not distilling a personal bias in any conversations and keep them as neutral as possible.
Helping children understand grief, loss and all of the confusing questions that surround these topics may be one of the most challenging times you have as a parent or caregiver, but as long as you follow the child’s lead and speak with them calmly you’ll be able to provide them the information that they need to process the loss and grieve in their own way. If you have questions about cremation or need more information to share, contact us anytime via our 24-hour phone line and our team of caring and compassionate professionals will assist however they can.