Coronavirus in the UK: Most parents more open to discussing death with children following Covid pandemic

More than half of parents in the UK feel more comfortable talking to their child about death and dying due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Gary Flockhart
Monday, 10th May 2021, 8:11 am
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 11:13 am

That’s according to the results of a new survey, conducted by the Ruth Strauss Foundation, which also found that 55% of people say they are either “a lot” (17%) or “a bit” (38%) more open to discussing death with their children following the pandemic.

However, 42% said the pandemic has had no impact on their openness in discussing the matter.

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Brighton came top of the cities (67%) where Covid-19 has made people most open and willing to talk about death and dying generally, compared with the national average of 55%.

The survey asked the question to 1,002 parents of schoolchildren aged between five and 18 across the nation.

It also discovered that 26% of parents are “very comfortable” talking to their child about death, while just over two in five say they are “quite comfortable”.

Not wanting to upset or frighten a child are common reasons why parents would feel uncomfortable talking about death and dying.

More than half of parents in the UK are more comfortable talking to their child about death and dying following the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey results have been released to mark the beginning of Dying Matters Awareness Week.

Founder of the Ruth Strauss Foundation and former England cricket captain Sir Andrew Strauss said: “It’s encouraging to see that so many parents feel comfortable speaking to their children about death.

“Opening up to children and young people about grief, death and dying is very important so that when faced by such difficult moments, they know that talking about it is OK – it’s not a taboo.

“We, as adults, need to give kids permission to talk about this.”

Its chief executive Karina Murtagh added: “Central to our mission to support young families facing the death of a parent is helping our society understand the importance of talking more openly about death and dying.

“It’s been an incredibly tough year for so many people who sadly have experienced the death of a loved one.

Coronavirus has naturally opened up difficult conversations with children about death and we are working with a number of schools on resources that will help further break the taboo surrounding grief, death and dying.”

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