On August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman who was most famously known as the BLACK PANTHER, passed away after a 4 year battle with cancer.
A lot like adults, children also grieve and have feelings as well. Some parents right now may choose not to discuss with their children at the moment, but whenever you do it could be extremely difficult.
Children looked up to The Black Panther, and he meant a lot to them. Parents shared some photos on social media of their children honoring The Black Panther with a funeral.
How do you tell your child(ren) that their hero died? How do you look them in the face and break their hearts? I don’t have all the answers but I hope these tips can help you.
Helpful Tips for Parents
Children are going to grieve and experience death very differently from adults. Not every child will take the news the same way. Children who are younger typically have a small understanding of death. To children, The Black Panther was their hero or their tv friend.
- When explaining the death of Chadwick also known as The Black Panther, make sure you explain to them that death doesn’t change their relationship. He will always be their hero and their friend.
If your child is old enough to use a smartphone or surf the internet, don’t assume that they don’t already know whats going on. Ask your child(ren) to see what they have heard or seen already.
2. If your child has already heard or seen the news, make sure they understand what they heard and/or saw.
Children have feelings and ofter times arent given the chance to freely express themselves.
3. Ask your child(ren) how he or she feels about the news they received. Allow them to openly and freely express how they feel. If they are having a difficult time expressing themselves ask them are they sad or mad. Allow them to draw or color to express their feelings. If they want to just cry that is ok too.
Understanding that The Black Panther has died is one thing, but understanding how and why will become even more difficult.
4. Ask your child(ren) if they know what cancer is. Explain to them that his body became ill and the doctors did everything they could to help him. Make sure you make it clear that just because you become ill does not mean you will die. You can give an example like a common cold that most of us get, does not mean we will die. Explain to them that even though he was battling cancer, he was still a hero and it didn’t slow him down. While this moment is sad and full of grief, it also teaches them that through any adversities you can still succeed and inspire others.
If your child(ren) are anything like the ones I know, they may have a lot of follow up questions.
5. It is ok to tell them that you do not know. Don’t makeup or add any information more than what you already know to be confirmed true.
Love, friends, and family are typically things that are important to children.
6. Please do let your child(ren) know that Chadwick did not die alone and that he was surrounded by his family. He was loved.
Children often have trouble with what’s real and what’s not.
7. Children who are at a young age may not understand that even though Chadwick (Black Panther) has passed away, they will still see him on their TV screen. Help them understand that when people die, they don’t come back to life, but they will still see him on TV.
Adults cry too.
8. Your child(ren) may be struggling with their emotions. If you feel grief it is ok for you to cry in front of them. Show them that even though you cry to show your emotion, you can also smile in the end. Make sure they know that feelings are natural and normal and it’s ok to feel how they feel.
Now that you have had this very difficult talk with your child(ren) put on the movie Black Panther and grab their favorite snack. If they have a Black Panther costume let them throw that on too.
Disclaimer: These tips are only in my personal opinion. If your child is showing signs of deep grief, please contact a professional.
Rest In Peace Chadwick ‘Black Panther’ Boseman