My daughter is 7 yrs old, and unfortunately, she has had to experience more than her fair share of death in those few short years. We have always been honest with her about death. We have never lied and said so, and so is just sleeping, giving her false hope that they will one day wake up or putting the fear or sleep in her head. With that being said, she is a very soft-hearted little girl who honestly wears her heart on her sleeve. She lost her Great-grandma at 2.5, and yes, she remembers her name and things about her. We don’t tell her things, and she just knows them. We have lost my uncle and my granddaddy since. She also talks about him. But our main source of sadness comes from the loss of our family dog. We got our dog three years before we had our daughter. He was her protector, you could say. Unfortunately, our dog was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and after many doses of medication, he still couldn’t walk. We had to make that hard decision to stop his pain. We told her that he was very sick and didn’t feel well and he went to heaven. But she will randomly cry because she misses him. We just got back from grabbing a quick dinner, and she was bawling in the back seat. When I asked what was wrong, she brought up our dog. I just held her and reassured her that he is feeling much better and has people looking out for him. But I am honestly at a loss as to how to handle it. Maybe I am not handling it correctly, but I just need some advice. Thank you in advance!!
Keeping an open conversation is definitely best. Grieving is a process and takes a lot of time. I know there are also lots of books that you can purchase specifically for kids about grieving to help with the process. If my dog died I would be a hysterical mess for years. So what shes going through is totally normal! My oldest two lost pets to a fire almost 7/8 yrs ago. It still comes up at times and they get emotional. Hang in there momma!
That’s all you can do. Be there to comfort as she grieves. I just went through the same thing with my daughter a couple yrs ago. It takes time to heal. You’re doing good mama
It’s a part of life. And teaching how to cope at a young age by being honest and letting her grieve as she needs will help her cope with things as she get older into adulthood. Things happen in life and we need to teach our kids we dont have control over it, but we can deal with things as they come and they will get through it.
The fact you are open about death and aren’t feeding her the “they’re just sleeping” line is SO important. You’re doing fine, momma. Death is hard to navigate, especially for a young child, but it’s best you don’t lie and keep that open line of conversation. Like the person above said, buying books for children on death helps the grieving process. Keep hugging her and reassuring her, it’s the best you can do
I told my daughter that he had gone to be a star in the sky . We used to go out on a night and say good night to him .
Sounds like you’re handling it perfectly, mama. Just be honest with her and let her know that it’s always ok to be sad about losing someone, and that it’s ok to cry. She’ll miss them forever, that just means she loved them. That’s what grief is, all the love we werent able to give people/pets while they were here with us.
We had to get a puppy quickly when we had to have our dog put down my girl was 8 at the time and missed a week of school because she cried so much he says to this day madison healed her broken heart she is 21 now it’s so hard on us grown-ups little ones take it so hard
Just let her grieve and have her emotions. Grief is hard on everyone and as a child it is good for her to get her feelings out.
Being open about death is always a good thing. When my father committed suicide, I was told that he “just went to sleep and never woke up” … I was terrified for years until I learned the truth.
You’re doing great. There is a Daniel tiger episode that deals with the death of his fish that might help as well. I love that episode. But I think they colored some pictures of the pet, talked about some memories. I lived on a farm growing up, so death was unfortunately something I saw quite often. It’s not easy, but talking about it, talking about memories always helped me.
Maybe get her a plushie that looks like the dog ? She can give it a hug when she’s missing the dog.
Alot of shelters will allow you to volunteer to come in and “socialize with the fur babies” might actually help her heal and cudos to not sheltering her from death my little girl is 5 and we are the same way
I would let her pick another dog or amimal of her choice to help cope it’s great you told her what happened to him and not the story of taking him to a farm
When I was 6, my favorite pup died from cancer. I went through similar experiences as your daughter. What helped me most was receiving a stuffed animal that looked like my Sage girl. After that, I would purposefully search out more German shepherd stuffed animals and eventually had a whole herd of them. Granted she was a king German shepherd and they looked a slight bit different, but I got the idea and it helped a ton.
You are doing a great job. My dad died on my daughter’s seventh birthday, the next year they lost their babysitter and great grandmother within a week of each other, and about 8 months later they lost their bus driver. It’s hard as a parent to see them upset because they miss them but comforting them is all we can do.
A new furry friend… they are the best when dealing with grief
My son lost his best friend on 9-24-19 it was very hard for him and to this day he still talks about her and cries I just let him say what he has to and I hold him while he cries we did get a new pup and that has helped him but he still talks about his peanut butter.
Awww ya gotta let her grieve. And this seems to be her process currently, just respond with love. Maybe get a picture of her and her bud so she can always have that. And just keep reassuring her hes pain free now. And happy in doggy heaven (if thats ur thing)
Was she aware of his declining health - are there moments you can remind her of that helps her see he was in pain ?