Thursday, July 3, 2008

Grieving the death of a pet

A mom explained to me that her 11-year-old daughter’s cat died suddenly one evening after getting into some poison. Her daughter was devastated. The daughter asked her mom to call some of her friends and tell them what had happened. Her mom made the calls. Her dad went out and bought a huge bag of candy and some chips for her.

When our children are hurting, it’s extremely easy to use the Personal Assistant parenting style to try to rescue them from the pain. When mom called the friends for her daughter, although she was trying to help, she also sent an unspoken message that her daughter wasn’t strong enough to make the calls herself. However, telling others the story of how a pet died is part of the healing process.

We want our children to learn that they have the inner strength to deal with difficult times. Watching our children go through painful situations is one of the hardest things we deal with as parents. It may be easier to avoid trying to rescue them if we remember that learning how to process grief is an integral part of growing up.
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