Death and Parenting – Talk, Plan or Ignore

Ok so this is not exactly a cheerful topic, but it really is an important one. As parents, we have a lot to focus on and it is all about new life, form the moment we find out about a baby right through until they graduate or get their first job and onto having their own kids. The focus is always on them and quite rightly, it’s about their life and their happiness to a larger extent. But, what about our own mortality, sadly we will be shuffling off this mortal coil at some point and when we do how will our kids deal with it and sort it all out?  The question is, do we talk about it, plan for it or just ignore it.

Taboo?

There is a growing trend these days to really take the taboo out of death. It is a really hard thing to do, it’s scary! Regardless of what you may believe about what happens after the whole concept has caused humans to focus on it more. Removing the stigma overnight won’t be easy but it may well be a very important thing to do. At what age you start dealing with death is a really big question and not one that will be answered here but it suffices to say that having pets at a young age can really help kids understand death. There is certainly a consensus that suggests trying to shelter them from it for as long as possible is not a healthy thing to do, especially if something happens out of the blue and they are totally unprepared to even begin to cope with it.

So talking about death may well be a good thing. Joking about it is probably even better. Making light of the fact that one day we all pop our clogs is a great way to deal with it and comedians have been helping us cope with death for a long time.

Plan

Sorry to say but the right thing to do is to plan for death in a number of ways. It is depressing, it is heartbreaking but it is important. But what do you need to plan?

Funeral Planning – This is a twofold thing and it is really important to understand what it is. A funeral plan is a financial product where you pay money in like an insurance policy and when you die your funeral is all covered and paid for. But these also include the actual plan of the funeral and your wishes. So, they are a great way to help either your partner or loved ones to be able to do it as you wanted it. They mean the whole thing is organised and paid for and your children no matter how grown up are not going to have to worry about it. Be aware though, as with all insurance and pension type products it can be a bit of a mind field so check out the Funeral Planning Authority’s website to get the best advice.

Wills – OK this is a big one. Again, no one wants to think about it but everyone should really be getting a will sorted when they get married or buy a house with someone but to not have one when you have kids is a big deal. It is really important to set down in a legal document how your possessions and money will be shared out but that is just a tiny bit of it. The real issue for parents is setting down who will look after the children. A lot of people are unaware that when it comes to unmarried couples the father does not automatically get the kids if the mother dies. A will is super important when it comes to child care as well as the money they get. They don’t even have to be expensive – https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/free-cheap-wills/

Ignoring It

Let’s just assume you wish to totally ignore dying completely when it comes to your kids. The result of this could be nothing at all or at least very little. You may live a very long time and your kids may well earn lots of money so your funeral when it does come will be easily affordable. But even so, they will still be very upset and may find it hard to cope because they didn’t know what you wanted for your sending off! Also, with no will, everything you own will have to be split up in a complex way that can be very stressful and cause a lot of family arguments. But if you pass away in an accident earlier then everything can go really wrong. Failing to talk about death, to approach it and allow it to be discussed can really make things tough. No will, no funeral plan and no childcare provisions just leave an even darker situation. As parents, it is our duty to look after our kids and this should also be thought of as something that continues when we are gone. Talk, joke, laugh but ultimately…plan for it because it will happen just like paying tax!

**Collaborative post**

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