How To Help Children Grieve The Loss Of A Beloved Pet

5/5/2017

The lost of a beloved pet is difficult for any family, but even more so for a child.The sudden death of an animal can traumatize them, especially if they've spent the majority of their life together, leaving parents feeling helpless.[caption id="attachment_34295" align="alignnone" width="601"]

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Dr. Franz Cappé, author of the book "Mon chat, mon chien va partir" (My dog, my cat will leave) (Albin Michel). Source: 20 Minutes[/caption]To help cope, Dr. Fran Cappé, a French veterinarian based in Paris, published a book, called "Mon chat, mon chien va partir" ("My cat, my dog will leave). In this work, he talks to parents and kids to help them surmount this period of grief.Several important subjects are discussed, including the way to inform a young child about the death of a pet. He explainedto the French site 20 Minutes:

I've often heard people explain to the child, after the death of a pet, that the animal had simply gone away. That response is too vague. You shouldn't avoid the subject. It's important to discuss the death of a pet as a family, because it's possible that your child considered the animal as a best friend. 
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 Source: Ohw Magazine

He continued, explaining that the position to adopt depends on the age of the child:

I define three different age ranges in my book: 1 to 4 years, 5 to 9 years, and 10 to 15 years old. The differences are huge in these age categories. Between 1 and 4, the death of the animal will seem unreal for the child. They will ask you regularly where he is and you should patiently re-explain. After five, it's typically the age where you should stop using arching phrases like, "he went up to heaven."  Finally, from 10 to 15, children have generally started to deepen their reflection on the subject of death. The death of a pet will incite questions, but at this age, they won't always ask parents.
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 Source: Your Dog Magazine

Parents can use a number of ideas in the book to help children cope with the grief, and to remember the happiness the animal brought to their life, rather than the moment of loss.You can also check out Rainbow Bridge  for more tips.

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