Helping kids deal with the loss of a pet: "Friday's Focus on Fatherhood"

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN)- Pets can become a big part of our families. They add joy and happiness to our lives. They're always glad to see us. Sometimes we feel like the pet is the only one that understands us.

And for children, you can probably double those emotional ties with their house pets.

So how do we help our kids through the loss of a pet, or through the process of deciding, that maybe it's best to put the pet to sleep?

Jim Kinyon of Catholic Social Services is a licensed Marriage and Family Counselor, and shares some helpful tips.

"Giving the child time to sort of talk about their feelings, normalizing the fact that, that loss is a normal process that we all kind of struggle with," Kinyon says.

"Being able to sort of ask them, what it is they need, or how you can help with them," he continues.

"Also helping them understand some of the realities of taking care of pets. There's no family has unlimited resources, and we all try and figure out how we can do the best we can do to meet our kid's needs, our family's needs, and pay bills and do all those other things. So sometimes we have to help kids become realistic, or come to terms with there are limits with what we can do," Kinyon explains.

"And that death is a natural part of the process and hopefully that will serve them well in the future as they're obviously gonna suffer other grief in their life," he says.

"Taking the time to really ask them, how best to approach this. You know, to give them some time with the pet to help them come to terms with it," Kinyon continues, and says "To involve them in part of the decision making process while. But sometimes we as parents have to make the difficult call."

If you're a Dad with a question you'd like us to address sometime, please call or e-mail us to let us know.
And we'll have another tip for dad's next Friday night.