Heaven and Mermaid’s Tale! – It is the fourth children’s book in a series about talking to kids about difficult subjects. This time we are talking the cycle of life. It will include tough subjects, such as life and death.

Children will be exposed to sickness and death at some point in their young lives because death is part of the natural cycle of life. Death is not a typical subject to discuss, even for a Christian adult.

Death is a concept usually too abstract for a child to understand. For persons of faith, like myself, I advise balance when explaining it. Don’t make death scary. Just discuss it with your kids and listen carefully to their specific questions. Remember that magical thinking is a helpful way for kids to cope and concretely relate to the world. It helps as they struggle with their fear. It is crucial to reassure them their needs will be met and communicate honestly and openly (including “I don’t know” when you don’t).

For most children, death is a new experience. And like all new experiences, the unknown can be confusing and frightening. Most children do not know what to expect after the loss of a family member or friend.

If necessary, I encourage parents to seek well-trained professionals willing to help in your grief. Seek their wisdom since the loss is not easy, no matter how old we are. Remember the loss of a loved one does not go away, but the way children experience it will change with time, hopefully maturing in ways that make it easier to bear.

As a parent, I always relish the moments when my daughter becomes a teacher herself. Trust me: I have learned through her naïve way seeing life and people. She has a wise mind, open to many possibilities.