Dad Guide: How to Talk With Your Kids About Death

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How to talk with your kids about death

My dad died a little over two months ago. I have been too wrapped up in sorting out his affairs and memorial, my own feelings about him and his passing to talk with my kids about their feelings, his death or death in general.

I’ve given it lots of thought, but until recently hadn’t put those thoughts into action. Mostly because I didn’t know how to have the conversation with them.

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An Atheist’s Confession

It is the Christmas season. Not just because the stores are playing the music or because I got the xmas lights up last weekend. Christmas is now a daily topic of conversation around our house. At least ten times a day the phrase “I can’t wait for Christmas” is uttered around our house and sometimes it is said by the kids.

I love Christmas. I am always the first up on Christmas morning – I take after my dad and my late Poppa in this regard. I love thinking about what to get people and then watching them open their gifts. I also love the gathering of the clans that comes with Christmas. My Christmas is an entirely secular affair and has nothing to do with Jesus.

Over the past few years we have had conversations with the girls, primarily driven by their questions, about this Jesus fellow and why people celebrate Christmas to mark his birth. We are not church goers so education about religion happens around the dinner table. I always make sure to talk about different religions and the reasons for various celebrations and holy days throughout the year. I want my kids to understand the different perspectives people have and how different faiths can inform those perspectives.

Earlier this week we were having anther one of these conversations about Christmas and why people celebrate and my oldest daughter said something along the lines of “that’s because we are Christians…” I can’t remember the rest of the sentence. I remember that part because it set off bells in my head. I am not a Christian Continue reading