What Children Need to Know

What Children Need to Know

Great Answers to Difficult Questions About Death: What Children Need to KnowGreat Answers to Difficult Questions about Death: What Children Need to Know

Goldman, Linda




Death is never an easy subject for discussion and adults often struggle to find the right words when talking about it with children. This book explores children’s thoughts and feelings on the subject of death and provides parents and other caring adults with guidance on how to respond to difficult questions. The author explores some of the most common questions children ask about death and provides sensitive yet candid answers, phrased in a way that children will be able to understand and relate to. Each chapter is devoted to a particular issue, such as religious beliefs, coming to terms with terminal illness, and the fear of forgetting someone when they are gone. The book recognizes the emotions and reactions of children and family members and includes separate conclusions for parents and children. This guide offers useful advice for parents and carers and will also be of interest to counsellors and other professionals working with children.



There is no easy way to deal with death. Whatever your age, though it is a natural part of the circle of life, the finality of it can be something a person cannot get a grip on, nor can they overcome without the right guidance or opportunity to gain answers. For children, the topic is even more imposing. I have found this short and very concise piece of work to be invaluable. In a reader-friendly “Question and Answer” type format, it addresses not only death of the elderly through old age or disease, but the more difficult topics such as suicide, accidents, murder and even terror attacks. The language is not condescending or vague, and the explanations are in no way cliches, such as, “it was meant to be…” which often open up more questions in children’s minds, and if left unaswered, can fester into depression, withdrawal, and other behavioral issues. The book focuses on scenarios and how adults can answer the child’s questions, with ages ranging from as young as five through 17. In each case, the adult creates an open, safe environment for the child to express their thoughts, fears, worries, or even guilt and blame. Religious beliefs are also touched upon and loss of a parent, sibling or family pet is especially helpful and insightful. The suggested responses are carefully worded according to the age of the child (too much info at a young age is not recommended and not enough for older children still leave holes in their understanding). I found myself highlighting often in this little book since my children certainly have been exposed to enough situations where death and dying were very real to them, and I didn’t always know the right way to approach their questions with careful honesty. This book has already become an important reference and will be highly recommended in my school as well as to friends and colleages.


Very good ways to deal with many scenarios. Actual scenarios / people, all children in her practice. I found it very helpful in how I answer questions / will answer questions that may come up. I really liked how she gave different responses for different age groups – very simple and straightforward with younger children, getting more in depth as they aged and revisited subjects. With our aging family members I thought I’d better get prepared and am grateful I found this book. I would recommend to all parents.