2015-07-15 “Breaking Bad News to Children”

First…we had a very good evening with Jason Mallory of the law firm Kerr, Wood and Mallory who spoke about the current Estate Administration Tax laws. The next seminar will be next Wednesday, July 22nd at 6:30 p.m. We already have over 50 people who were on the wait list for the next seminar and will be cutting the numbers off at 100 so give us a call if you are interested. If there is enough interest, we may possibly hold another seminar but probably not until fall.


I’ve been reading an article about breaking bad news to children. It will take a couple of weeks to share what I have read so let me start with the Basic Suggestions that are included in an article written by Dr. Bill Webster. In this article, he says

“First, distinguish your own emotions about the news from your feelings about what to tell your kids. Take a few minutes (or hours) yourself to try to adjust to the news. It’s always harder to talk about bad news with others when it’s an overwhelming emotional issue for you.

Be open to your kids’ reactions. Some may cry. Others may get angry. Some may not seem to react at all. Don’t read too much into the child’s initial reaction. For some, it takes a while for the news to sink in.

Give information according to your child’s age. Younger children will require less “factual” information than older teenagers. After sharing the information, answer any questions the kids may have.

Reassure the children. When bad things happen, their main issue is “how is this going to affect me?” What they need to hear most in that moment is that you love them and that you are going to be there for them now and in the future.

Talk about what the bad news means for them personally. Be as clear as possible about how the bad news will make their life change – or not change it. Older kids will want to know more details about this than younger kids.”

Over the next two weeks I will talk about the guidelines for telling children bad news. It would be nice if you never have to use the information, but it’s good information to have nonetheless.

Until next week,