When to Tell the Children: Preparing Children for the Death of Someone Close to Them

Parents want to protect their children from emotional pain and suffering. This natural parental urge can be difficult to balance with the desire to be honest and upfront about harsh realities, such as talking about death and dying. As a therapist who specializes in working with grieving children, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is: “When is the right time to tell the kids that a family member will likely die from this illness?” While there is no “right time” that works for every family, there is one certainty: children of all ages benefit from being prepared in advance for the death of someone close to them.