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Irish Independent - Health & Living - - MIND YOURSELF -

YOUNG CHIL­DREN DON’T GRASP THE FI­NAL­ITY OF DEATH —

Un­til about the age of seven or eight, chil­dren don’t un­der­stand that death is for­ever, says Jones. “They may not un­der­stand that a per­son is gone for­ever, so they may ask ‘when is my brother com­ing back?’ or ‘is granny com­ing for Christ­mas?’”

It is very im­por­tant that adults ex­plain gen­tly but very clearly that when a per­son dies, they do not come back, she em­pha­sises. Al­ways use clear and un­am­bigu­ous lan­guage around death — use the word ‘died,’ and not phrases such as ‘passed away,’ ‘gone to heaven’ or ‘is with the an­gels.’ She ex­plains: “If, for ex­am­ple, a four-year-old’s grand­fa­ther has died of a heart attack, it’s im­por­tant to ex­plain that grandad’s heart does work any­more. Be­cause of this, his body is not work­ing ei­ther, and so he has died.”

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