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How do you explain death to a small child if you don't believe in God?

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 11:34 AM on Jun. 21, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (31)
  • I've just told her that so-and-so died, that their body stopped working and was going to be cremated and the ashes put on the shelf in the living room.
    She was 3 at the time and handled it great, knew he wasn't coming back, knew she couldn't sit on his lap anymore, knew that the only time she could see him was in the picture.
    I didn't need the crutch of god to explain what happened to my father in law.
    Kiwismommy19

    Answer by Kiwismommy19 at 11:36 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • Don't. Why do they need to know? Just tell them the person went away to live somewhere else.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:34 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • I have always wondered that too....another perk for having Faith and believing.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:36 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • I just went through thiswith my DD, she's 4. We don't believe either. I ended up just telling her that when people get really, really old they die and go to a magical place in the sky where everyone is happy. I don't believe in Heaven but i'd rather have my DD think there is one than be afraid of death because nothing comes after it. I figured when she is older and more able to handle the info I will explain it to her. For now I just don't want my 4 yr old being that afraid...
    leslie_zoe2010

    Answer by leslie_zoe2010 at 11:36 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • my MIL died when DS was 2 1/2... we kept it simple... Nana died and that meant she wasn't ever coming back... we didn't lie to him, avoided things like "she was sick" or "sleeping" because we didn't want him to fear getting sick or going to sleep. MY parents brought him briefly to the visitation, we explained that people would be sad because they missed Nana, and that people may be crying, and that it was ok to be sad
    peanutsmommy1

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 11:37 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • Maybe emphasize some of the good things that the person did or what you liked about them. Maybe you can say that the person is "gone" or "at peace." Maybe say "when someone dies, they close thier eyes and its like they are resting. They are quiet and they close their eyes and they are still." Then explain a funeral or a service to say goodbye.
    3gigglemonsters

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 11:40 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • We have had a lot of pet deaths, and I just tell my child that the body can only live so long, and sometimes people and animals get sick or old, and their body needs rest, so it shuts down forever.

    He is only 5, but I think he gets it. I just explain a more scientific view. I am not a God believer, but, I do believe their are some type of spiritual activities. i have had many ghost experiences in ym life, including seeing one. I think it is energies... but, who knows. I dont see why people try to sheild death form kids.. Its part of life.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:40 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • "I have always wondered that too....another perk for having Faith and believing. "..

    lol, ok.......
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:40 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • I would avoid statements about "closing their eyes" or "quiet".... kids are literal... they will think that the next time they close their eyes or you tell them they need a quiet time that they are going to die
    peanutsmommy1

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 11:44 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • We haven't got to that point yet, but I'm leaning towards the 'Circle of Life' concept, where our bodies go back to the earth to feed the soil that grows the plants that feed the animals.
    anng.atlanta

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 11:51 AM on Jun. 21, 2010