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How do you help a grieving child?

Late Monday night our family dog passed away. The kids 12 & 8 had known him their whole lives. This is the first loved one so close that they've ever lost. We told the kids yesterday morning and obviously they were devasted. We kept them home from school and spent time talking to them and they spent some time with a relatives dog. Last night we were up until 1 am with our 12 yr old trying to console him. What else can we do?


Asked by not-the-momma at 9:35 AM on Jan. 6, 2010 in General Parenting

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Answers (7)
  • Nothing. Grieving is a process and it will take time. He will have to come to terms with this himself. It's still early to expect him to be "over it", so to say. Just be there, offer hugs, and try to get him to talk about the dog and all the good times he's had (and try to keep anyone from suggesting getting a new one! I know that pissed me off when my dog died!!)

    PS Love the screen name. Is that from Dinosours? (seeing a big frying pan flying at Earl's head!)

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:38 AM on Jan. 6, 2010

  • Unfortunately there is not much you can do except allow him time to grieve. Let him know it is ok to cry and be sad. But assure him that the pup is not in pain or sad any longer. Not sure if you are considering it, but if it were us we would buy a new puppy.

    Answer by RutterMama at 9:39 AM on Jan. 6, 2010

  • If the dog had any toys or blankets that he loved, maybe give them to the kids at night to help them feel closer to their lost loved one :( Man losing a pet is SO hard...but it is part of having them and loving them.
    Give your kids an extra hug for me...I still cry when I think about my Murphy and I was an adult when he passed :(

    Answer by Allergic2Stupid at 9:43 AM on Jan. 6, 2010

  • I am sorry your children are having to deal with this. But death is a natural part of life, thank goodness they are learning about this thru the loss of their doggy instead of the loss of a parent. I remember when we had to have my dog put to sleep, I had had Spot since I was 5 years old and was 20 when we had to have her put down. It was horrible for awhile but it taught me about death, I had not lost anyone close to me yet at that age. In time your children will deal better with it, just let them deal with the emotions and in time it will be better.

    Answer by ronjwake at 9:49 AM on Jan. 6, 2010

  • when my son lost his pet lizard that he loved so much (his dinosaur) he was upset and cried for hours..i asked him if he wanted to have a funeral for him. He was very happy to do that. We put him in a box and burried him in our back yard and put him heating rock on top as his head stone and i told my son any time he wants to visit or is thinking of him he can go out and look at him. My son believes in heaven so he says that spike is in heaven. It was hard to explain how spike went to heaven though when i was putting him in the ground.

    Answer by shay1130 at 9:49 AM on Jan. 6, 2010

  • There is a great book for kids called Dog Heaven By Cynthia Rylant. You can find it at pet specialty stores and I'm sure you can find it online too. I read it to the kids I took care of when their dog died and it helped a lot, it's a great book! I'm sorry for your loss, hugs to your family.

    Answer by newmomma14 at 10:08 AM on Jan. 6, 2010

  • I am sorry for your loss... a pet is just as much part of the family and anyone else is and their passing can be just as hard
    to deal with.. and for a child even harder... a child and a pet have a special bond between them... they can become bf's and
    the child will confine in his/her pet as such a bf would...
    Unfortunately it sounds like that you have done the best you can ... grieving is a part of life's process.. he will soon be able
    to handle the pets passing better in time, but assure him that you are always there for him and a hug or 2 never hurts...
    Again I am sorry for your loss... hugs to you and to your children...

    Answer by gmasboy at 11:19 AM on Jan. 6, 2010