2015-08-05 “Breaking Bad News to Children Part 4”

Over the past three weeks I have been talking about Dr. Bill Webster’s information regarding 10 guidelines for telling children bad news. So far I covered:

  1. “Wait Until You Have The Complete Story”
  2. “Faith and Fibs”
  3. “Use Age Appropriate Language”.

Following these come:

  1. Allow Time For Grief: Despite your readiness to move on, don’t rush your child. Grief may be a new emotion and he/she may need more time to work through being able to express that. Make sure that children understand that it’s okay to feel the way they are feeling; that anger is just as normal as sadness and that crying is good. If you are concerned about your childs coping through behavioural issues or plunging grades in school, don’t hesitate to seek help. Remember that sometimes the quiet child who seems to have adjusted more quickly may be the one who needs the most help letting go.
  2. Share Bad News Together: It’s a good idea to tell bad news together with your partner or other family members. First, it is a comfort to you to be in the company of people who support and love you and second, this will ensure that everybody gets the same message. It is best to tell children together when the bad news involves a death or a separation that is in the works.
  3. Choose The Right Moment: Although there is no good time to share bad news, if it’s possible you might wait until the end of the day. The dinner table or gathering together after dinner is best; that way it hasn’t ruined the entire day for the child. Also, after you have shared the information and everything is winding down for the day you can spend some individual time with each child and reassure them that you will still be there.
  4. Keep The Conversation Open: Being able to discuss the situation at any time with your child is invaluable. Your child may come back in an hour or in a week to ask more questions. Let them know that’s okay, and make sure you mean it.

Next week I will finish the three final guidelines…