How To Talk To Your Kids About Death

Child rearing is full of pleasant firsts: your child’s first smile, first words, first step, first date. The first time they call you “bitch” in public. First wedding, first second wedding. There are also some firsts that you might not be looking forward to, like the first time your kid asks why his skin isn’t the same color as yours, or when she first asks about death. If you are lucky, you will only be explaining why Will Smith had to murder his dog in I Am Legend (because Zombie Doggies are meaner than Doggy Doggies) rather than explaining why Grandpa was naked and covered in butter when they found him. Either way, don’t panic; you will probably be dead way before your kids anyway so you won’t have to deal with any lies you tell about what is beyond deaths doors.

  1. Be “honest.”  Do NOT be honest. Death is horrifying. In fact, you probably are still pretty scared of it yourself. Most of your kids will believe whatever you say, so just say whatever you want but preface it by saying “Look Buddy. I ‘m going to be honest with you.” That way it will seem like you are treating her like an adult.
  2. Provide hope. Ignoring death is unhealthy. But deluding yourself enough to live a productive life is advisable. Choose early whether you will use the specter of future scientific advancement or the pretense of a religious promised land as your argument, and pound it into your child’s head. Make your choice based on the method of death that your child is most afraid of. If thoughts of cancer or an aneurysm give your kid night terrors, reassure him that science will allow us to live for thousands of years by 2027 at the latest. If your little gipper is prone to panic attacks about famine or public stoning, then introduce him to one of the worlds many religions or the movie All Dogs Go to Heaven.
  3. Bring up Magic Johnson. Or make a reference to any other person that your kid is too young to understand. They will quickly be bored and go ask your spouse.
  4. Use your child’s weak understanding of empiricism. “Well. You know how in science class Mr. Blinman talks about how if we see something happen over and over every time we look at it, then that thing is probably going to keep happening? Well..you haven’t died yet, have you? And PLEASE don’t bring up sample size! You’ve been alive for an essentially infinite number of Planck Units, so I think our sample size is large enough, thank you!” Your child will either believe that they will live forever or quickly tire. And then go ask your spouse.
Cow Tips!
*If your kid is really stupid just say “What are you talkin about silly?” and it will never come up again.
*Watch the Sixth Sense over and over and your kid will probably assume he is already dead. Problem solved.
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