Feelings of Guilt and Confusion
"I remember thinking if I had gone to visit my dad more in the hospital, he would not have died."- Kathleen
It is common for young children to feel guilty and responsible when a loved one dies. Many preschool-aged children believe in 'magical thinking,' that is if they wish something to be true, it can happen, says Ott. Magical thinking can cause children to blame themselves for a death—"I wished Daddy would just go away when I was mad, and now he is dead,"—or let them believe that enough good thoughts can reverse a death. Parents need to reassure children that death is not their fault.