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4 year old afraid to die

Well my son just turned 4 year old and 3 days ago he had a major melt down that lasted about 30 minutes. He just kept rambling on and on about how he doesn't want to die. He said something about dying and DH said that everyone dies sometime and that started it! I am not sure where it even came from since no one close to us or any animals have died. He goes to preschool so he may have picked it up there.

We are pantheist and do not believe in heaven/hell or God as a being or reincarnation, but he kept asking if he would come back to live after dying and DH finally said that some people believe you do, but we don't know for sure. He has continued to bring this up at least 3-4 times a day since then, but not nearly as bad as the first time. Any ideas on how to get him over the fear of dying?


Asked by Anonymous at 7:28 AM on Jun. 18, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • I don't know if this link will help you at all... but it may have bits and pieces there that may help you talk to your 4 yr old..

    I have an 8 yr old and he witnessed his gp(my dh) collaspe in a public place right after his final chemo treatment and (tho I know you situtation is much much more different and calmer) but death became a topic for him then... he realized that we all do die sometime, but to see it was different for him (dh did not die ) so maybe this website might have a suggestion or two for you to use...

    Hugs to your little one...


    Answer by gmasboy at 10:22 AM on Jun. 18, 2009

  • I know you don't beleive in Reincarnation, but the majority of those types of cases studied have shown that children under the age of 5 are more able to remember their past lives than adults. Because of their age and how recent it might have happened, they will 'remember' their past life and death in very lucid dreams and it frightenes them because it seems very real to them.


    Answer by IhartU at 7:42 AM on Jun. 18, 2009

  • It is pretty normal for little children to think about death although your son may be a bit younger than some are when they first become aware of it. I really can't help you since you don't believe in God, because this is the time Christians would introduce Jesus' death on the cross so that we might live with Him in heaven. It is amazing how reassuring that knowledge is to a little child. I believe that God has so made us that He begins to draw us toward Him at a very early age, and I find that reassuring. I honestly can't think of any other way that would begin to comfort your child.

    Answer by NannyB. at 7:47 AM on Jun. 18, 2009

  • Sometimes as parents we have to do for our children what we don't like, for our children's wellbeing. I'd listen very very carefully to your son and believe his fears and worries. And say what he needs to hear what you know he needs to hear, but are reluctant to say because you don't believe. That does not mean you believe with all of your heart and brains, it means you're open to helping your child. Because you need son calm to understand more so you need to calm that fear with a belief for him that he himself can hold onto. Then you can observe him more, listen to him more ... I'd also talk in depth to his preschool teachers and see if a child recently or in past had a death that affected that child, that in turn in talk between kids on playground could have affected your son. Also I'd make periodic drivebys to observe him in class. jmo

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:58 AM on Jun. 18, 2009

  • Maybe a child has a relative or neighbor - or another child overheard their parents talking about Iraq Afghanistan and they were overheard by their child or even talked with their child about kids, war, military family?

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:01 AM on Jun. 18, 2009

  • OP here. I have heard the part about young kids being more aware of past lives and other things and that may well be where it is coming from. He seems to ask most frequently in the morning and right before bed. I talked with preschool and none of the kids have lost close family members that has been mentioned to them, but they are keeping an eye on him for me too. They said he hasn't brought it up that they have heard at school yet though. He is calmed when we tell him that he won't die for a long time and that some people think you come back alive. We have not said that mommy and daddy do, but that some people believe that. We plan on raising our kids with a well rounded view of religion and allowing them to choose their own path when the time comes. I am worried about bringing in God yet though since he is still fairly young I think it would be too confusing for him yet.

    Answer by aeneva at 8:51 AM on Jun. 18, 2009

  • I told my son that when I or anyone he knows is ready to die, science will create a way to keep people alive forever. Why not? He's only 4. My kids were good with that and I actually found research is being done on that. Now they are older and science oriented. Science can provide alot of answers.

    Answer by writeon at 10:48 AM on Jun. 18, 2009

  • I think you are handling it well already. Being honest is always the best in these situations. You can talk to him about the different things that different people believe (heaven, reincarnation, nirvana, etc.) always saying that different people believe these different things but that you don't know which, if any, are true. Telling him he isn't likely to die soon is also true & reassuring. Make sure you let him bring up the subject & try to keep your manner logical and comforting when talking to him about it. It is a bit of a phase many children go through, he will adjust to the concept.

    Answer by nysa00 at 12:58 PM on Jun. 18, 2009

  • Could be a sign of OCD, talk to your doctor. Obsession with death and dying is one of the typical compulsions.

    Answer by luvmybabieskna at 3:54 PM on Jun. 18, 2009