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How Would You Explain Death To Your Child?

My 5 yr old step son must have overheard us talking about Michael Jackson dying and asked me about it. I explained to him that Michael Jackson was really really old and his heart stopped working. That he died in the hospital because God wanted him to live with him and now he is with God and he is happy. He asked me if when he got older his heart would stop and I told him not for a long long long time thousands of years from now and he seemed content with that. Then he asked me why God doesnt talk to us and I told him because God wants us to wait until we get to Heaven. I didnt want to completely lie but I obviously couldnt tell the whole truth. Do you think I explained this well? How would you or how did you explain death to your kids?

 
MiSSHiSCAMP0S

Asked by MiSSHiSCAMP0S at 7:48 PM on Jul. 9, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (8)
  • I believe in telling the whole truth about death - that sometimes, our bodies get sick, that we ALL die, that we don't know when we will die, that we die from all sorts of reasons, and that God does talk to us, but we have to learn to listen, just like we can talk to God through prayer and just "talking" to God. My son and I have had lots of talks about death so that I could answer his questions and now he's convinced that I'm going to die as soon as he has kids because I said that I didn't WANT to die until after I had the chance to see his kids! :) Give your son more credit for taking death for what it is - the next part of life. Just make sure you give him lots of opportunities to ask lots of questions so that he can process it into his understanding of the worlds - but don't cheat him by lying about it. Everyone dies - don't let death come as a shock when it hits close to home.
    JPsMommy605

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 10:19 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • That whom ever went to heaven to where god lives and when they or old really old they will go to live with god too.
    You did fine you, wait till his older
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:54 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • Well, except for the thousands of years part you did fine. **grin**

    When my dad died, we explained to our son that Papa had been very sick, and that he wasn't hurting any more and that we would all be together in heaven some day.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 7:56 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I had to explain death to my then 4 year old daughter when my Daddy passed in June of last year. I explained to her that paw-paw was sick and died. I told her that although she wouldn't be able to see him anymore that he would be able to see her. To that she told me "Mommy I can see paw-paw anytime I want see then she closed her eyes and said see I see him". I told her that even though he may not answer she could talk to him anytime and he would hear her. She talks to him every night before bed. I told her that she had something very special now she had her own personal angel in heaven looking out for her. I made sure that I did not say anything like he was sleeping or on vacation because I did not want her to think he was coming back. She took it pretty well she had her crying moments asking about her paw-paw's shop that he owned, and what maw-maw was going to do. But over all she did well.
    TeriMelisa

    Answer by TeriMelisa at 7:57 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I have 2 & 4 year old girls and my father recently passed away and they were very close to their "pa" When it is more close to home you will have to say the same story a million times that they ask. Just NEVER EVER refer to death as sleeping! Since this is someone your child doesn't personally know you will probably not have very many questions yet. When the time comes that it is more personal explain it simple and not scary and never underestimate a child my 2 girls understand more than what we have told them (little one's are pure of mind and believe and understand more than so many adult do)
    hotrodmomma

    Answer by hotrodmomma at 8:01 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • My grandpa died yesterday so I had to explain to my 5 yr old that he went to heaven to watch over us. That one day we'd be up there with him but until then just to keep him in our hearts and continue to love him.
    Amaranth361

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 9:01 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • Obviously the conversation is quite dark, but I wanted to add a little bit of light to the subject. My grandfather passed away VERY suddenly in January, then my husband's great-grandmother passed away just last month (and truth be told, we will probably have one more, DH's grandpa is NOT doing well). So when all the coverage came about with MJ's death, my 4 year old son again asked questions about everything, and I explained that he went to heaven. For whatever reason, he asked me what he was doing up there ( Grandpa and G-Grandma were watching over us is MJ?!) so I told him that MJ was teaching everyone in heaven the moonwalk, and he just giggled and giggled! :)
    MamaRoberts

    Answer by MamaRoberts at 11:13 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I told my son that sometimes God needs people in Heaven and that he takes them home to be angles. I wouldn't say that someone got old and their heart stopped working, that isn't always true (and Michael Jackson was 50 years old and that is NOT old). My son knows that God takes people of all ages to be in Heaven. When he was about 7, a friends baby died at 3 months old and we explained that to him. He knows that God lets people borrow his angles and that most people get to stay a long time but some God needs back sooner. He is 13 and understands more now. My son was 2.5 yrs old when my uncle died and he had lots of questions, my son was my uncles's favorite. I don't lie to kids when they ask questions, I just gear my talk to their age and maturity level. But, I did tell my son from a young age that no one lives forever and that everyone dies. It is part of life. Kids understand and can handle more than given credit for.
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:34 PM on Jul. 9, 2009