Pets are more than just animals who live in our homes; they become part of the family as they grow, age, and develop personalities with us. Pets become our family members who don’t judge us and only offer us unconditional love. When these animals come into our home and our hearts, it can be difficult to deal with their deaths; the feeling of losing your family pet can be similar to the loss of human family member. It is hard enough when you feel the grief of losing your pet, but it is extremely difficult to watch your children grieve the loss of their childhood companion. Here are a few tips for how to deal with the loss of a pet and how to help kids cope.
How To Deal With A Loss Of A Pet And Help Kids Cope
How to Cope With Loss Of A Pet
To help yourself and your family through the grieving process of losing a pet, it is most important to recognize your own grief and understand that it is natural and understandable. People sometimes think that losing a pet doesn’t warrant such grief, but your pet was part of the family and losing them can be very emotional.
By grieving properly for your pet, it will help your child understand their own feelings of sadness. Make sure you talk with each other about how you are feeling. Children are especially sensitive to the loss of a pet because this is often the first time they will have to deal with death and they may experience bouts of sadness, anger, and guilt.
Whether the death of your pet was sudden or if your pet was sick for some time, it can still be very hard for children to understand. You should try to talk to them about your pet and encourage them to think about all of the good times they had spent with them.
Kids should understand that it is OK to feel sad about the loss of the family pet. They should also understand it is OK express that grief. Letting it out by crying is a good way to release it and let it go. They should also understand that they will always have their memories and they can still carry that love in their hearts. It is best to be grateful for the time and let that thankful feeling fill our hearts.
Make a Memorial
A nice way to help your family through the death of a family pet is by doing something in their memory. You can create a scrapbook full of memories and pictures together. You can even plant a tree or flowers in memory of your lost companion. This can be a place you can go to visit and think about the fun times you had. Doing something in memory of your pet will help your child associate something good with the death of their beloved pet.
Consider Getting a New Pet At The Right Time
One thing that should be carefully considered in the wake of the death of a family pet is getting a new pet. Getting a new pet too soon can be unhealthy for you, your family, and your new pet. You need a chance to grieve first. It is very natural to miss your pet, but getting a new one will not replace it or take your child’s sadness away. If you feel that you and your child could benefit from some animal interaction to get you through this hard time, you should consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. This will be a rewarding family experience and a good learning experience for your children. Then when you are all ready, you can welcome a new pet into your home.
The loss of a family pet is never easy. It is even more difficult to watch your children grieve the loss of the pet. By understanding your own emotions and talking to your children you can work through this difficult time together. It can actually be an important learning experience that allows your child to become familiar with the concept of death without it applying to a person. The main thing is to let them know it is good to ask questions and talk through their feelings is they need to do so.
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We lost our family pet last year. Mozart, RIP, was a 12 year old German shepherd that we had adopted at a shelter when he was 1. Both of my children’s first word was “da,” short for dog. Needless to say, it was a tough loss. We all drew pictures of Mozart doing his favorite things and the vet gave us a clay paw print from him.
Maya Rodgers says
Thanks for sharing how you helped your family cope with the loss of Mozart. Art therapy is a great mechanism for helping children express emotion. Family pets can be a child’s first friendship and their life. It is truly difficult to deal with the loss of a pet.
Thanks for sharing your story!
Shala Howell says
We lost our two cats within a four-month period last year. The first died just one week before my six-year-old’s birthday, the other about four months later. As you can imagine this was terribly hard on our entire family. My daughter’s main sadness seemed to be not only the sudden loss of two-fifths of our family, but also the worry that she would one day forget all about them. My husband & I helped our daughter put together a photo album of her favorite pictures of the cats. Having the album available to flip through whenever she wanted to remember either of her friends has been tremendously soothing for our little girl.
Maya Rodgers says
Thanks for sharing about your story. I’m so sorry for both of your losses. A photo album sounds like a great way to remember the good times with your pet! I’m glad you found a great coping mechanism with worked with your family.