High River United Church of High River, Alberta


Finding the Words: How to Talk to Children & Teens about Death

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by Alan D. Wolfelt  (Companion Press, 2013)


What do I say to a child whose pet has just died?  How do I talk to a teen whose friend was killed in a car collision? What words are there to answer the questions of a toddler whose mother won’t be coming home?  This book by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, who has studied and taught about grief for decades, is an amazing collection of questions and answers about how to talk with children and teens about death, suicide, funerals, homicide, cremation and other end-of-life matters.   It is divided up according to age group (pre-schoolers, school-age, teen) as well as topics relating to end of life.  For each possible question that a child may ask, there is a “don’t say this”, “do say this” and an explanation of why.  Even if you are not currently in a situation of needing to explain end-of-life matters to a child or grandchild, this is a great book to read through to be prepared for those moments that come unannounced.  The answers will also spark ideas about what you could say to adult friends and family, when they have experienced loss in their lives.

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