I was pleased to see the subject of pet bereavement being discussed on daytime TV yesterday. Often people forget how attached pet owners are to their beloved pooch or moggy.
Speaking as a parent often through keeping a pet a child learns about responsibility and their first encounter with grief may indeed be through the loss of a pet hamster.
I think the mistake parents often make is in trying to protect their children’s emotions they invent strange stories as to where the deceased animal has gone to, and even replace a goldfish with another pretending it is the same one.
We cannot run from death and the earlier a child understands about loss but in a controlled way the better. There is no right age to accept or a right way of breaking bad news we just have to do the best we can.
However, there are of course great books available pitched age appropriate which can help with the loss of grandparent say. If you feel you need outside help do not feel embarrassed to ask as often you may be going through the same emotions yourself and a bereavement counsellor can help make the journey easier for both you and your child.