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3 1/2 year old and death

Posted by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 9:55 AM
  • 17 Replies

I have a situation with my son, who's 3 1/2.  He watched an episode of Caillou in which a bird died, and it briefly addressed death, and that everything eventually dies.  I didn't think too much of it, but apparently, this has deeply impacted my son.  Sporadically, for no reason, he'll just ask, "Mommy, are you going to dead?  What about Patches, is he going to dead?  Am I going to dead?  I DON'T WANT TO DEAD!" then he begins to get hysterical.  We try to discuss things with him and assure him that we are all healthy and will live a very long time, but he's just very worried by this.  Then, he'll go about things and we won't hear anything of it for a few days, and then another variation of the same conversation would occur.  "Mommy, is Daddy going to dead?  I love Daddy, I don't want him to dead."  He doesn't even fully grasp what death is, but that the person would be all gone.  Well, last night it reached a new level.  He was sleeping with me, because DH is out of town for work.  In the middle of the night, he just starts screaming and crying (still asleep) and says, "NOOOOOO!  I DON'T WANT TO DEAD!  MOMMY, NO!"  I hugged him and he was jus flailing terribly.  This morning, he had little recollection, but it was still very scary.
So, what should I do?  This is getting worse, despite our best efforts to discuss it with him.  We're honest; we acknowledge that everything dies (I don't want to lie to him) but that for healthy people and things, they live a very long time.  We point out that Mommy and Daddy are a lot older than him, but still have a VERY long time to live, but he still gets so worked up.  What would you do?  He can't continue like this.  I just want to help him not harp on this so much.  :( 

by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 9:55 AM
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Replies (1-10):
DeathGoddess
by Silver Member on Feb. 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM

OMG... i hate that episode...around 3 yrs old my daughter watched that too...i wasn't really paying attention...the whole next month she kept carrying around a shoe box telling us the birdie died...we had NO clue what she was talking about until we found that episode on on demand...something about it really seems to bother younger kids...i have talked to several moms with the same type of experience with THAT specific episode.

KairisMama
by Ruby Member on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:00 AM

 My DD saw an episode of Harold, where his goldfish died, when she was 2. She is 4 now, and has since lost grandma, a guinea pig, and her own fish. When she has asked if she will die, or me, or anyone else I tell her yes. She understands that everyone dies at some point. It is nothing to fear. I always tell her that she has a nice long life to live, and she accepts that.

She knows her fish is in heaven now, and her grandma is taking care of it.

LiesLiesLies
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:03 AM

My 3 year old had to go to a therapist for this.

We have worked through it...and we just explain that when things die we can still have them in our hearts and see them in our dreams...and they are still a very big part of us..

mom2ljh
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:06 AM

I think it has something to do with Caillou freaking out about everyone around him and worrying that they're all going to die.  It overgeneralizes things, and then doesn't offer enough explanation, so it presents young children with a brand new concept (for many) and leaves them terribly confused.  They then continue with that overgeneralization.  I just don't know what to do for him now.  :(

Quoting DeathGoddess:

OMG... i hate that episode...around 3 yrs old my daughter watched that too...i wasn't really paying attention...the whole next month she kept carrying around a shoe box telling us the birdie died...we had NO clue what she was talking about until we found that episode on on demand...something about it really seems to bother younger kids...i have talked to several moms with the same type of experience with THAT specific episode.


platt2mommy
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:06 AM

i don't have any advice. My family lost 2 members, one of which, my Nona, we were all there for. My daughter, 3 yo, understands that Nona is an angel. I explained to her that we can't see her but she is all around us and she's happy and healthy now. And to this day if you ask her where her Nona is or her Uncle Dustin is, she tells you they are angels. or dancing with the butterflies!

Chaotic_Rayne
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM

 Damn.... they add in graphic death discussion in a kids show?

KimmyShaw
by Ruby Member on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:12 AM

UGGGH we are going through this too! My DD is fixated on it :(It started when she was asking me where my mother was who passed when I was 13 and then she saw some shows.

I was frustrated with my hubby the other day and said I was going to kill him under my breath but she heard and FREAKED out....UGGGH that was bad. Bad mommy...

 

mommapeanut
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM

MY 3.75 yo DD IS actually PRETTY GOOD WITH DEATH.....  she got a fish for her 3rd bday from us. it died this summer one day, we talked briefly (just saying being went to heaven ect) and she got to pick out a new fish....   she'll grasps 'death' as a concept (ie: mommy, that guy dead? if she sees someone fall bad on AFV, or in a movie where the pet dies or something.....but she's never asked if we're going to die.

EsmeVincent
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM

ds(3) has also seen that same Caillou(I hate caillou! he is such a brat) but he didn't react like that to it.  I'm not sure how you would help him...only thing I can think of is to find him a good child psychiatrist

mom2ljh
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Gosh, I'm thinking of finding him a therapist.  His reaction just isn't normal.  :(

Quoting EsmeVincent:

ds(3) has also seen that same Caillou(I hate caillou! he is such a brat) but he didn't react like that to it.  I'm not sure how you would help him...only thing I can think of is to find him a good child psychiatrist


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