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How to handle death with two year olds..

Posted by on May. 22, 2013 at 7:46 PM
Amy
  • 11 Replies
I have two year old twins. A family friend died very tragically last week. They didn't know her but her brother and fiancé are like family to us. So they are witnessing their grieving. I don't know how to explain it. Should I? I've been scared of death to a very serious degree all my life and don't want that for them. When is the proper age to say what really happens? Also a family pet passed away today and that is really impacting them. I said she had to go far away and she will miss them as much as they miss her. I was stumped. I need help!
by on May. 22, 2013 at 7:46 PM
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Replies (1-10):
12yrmama
by Bronze Member on May. 22, 2013 at 9:44 PM
1 mom liked this

This is what I say to my kids: 'So and so' died, which means we can't see them anymore. It happens to everything; people, animals, plants, flowers. I'm sad because I won't see them anymore. But it will be okay, and I will feel better in a few days. Our pet died last fall, I had to be a little firm with my dd that she could not come back but that we loved her enough to make her happy while she was with us.

I make a point to show my kids when flowers, birds, even bugs, are dead. I don't push anything gross on them, but at some point you see or walk by something thats dead. I tell them that its dead and how next spring flowers came back. They are not the same, but new things came alive all the time. With animals kinda the same thing, there's always new babies.

MrsRinehart2010
by on May. 22, 2013 at 9:48 PM
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 Im not a 40 something mother but Ive dealt with this when my daughter(oldest) was about this age. IDK if you believe in heaven or not but my DD does (im not religious but she loves church). But any ways we just told her they went to heaven and werent in any pain and where watching down on her which gave her comfort. She knows they are passed on and wont be coming back an she can talk to them but they cant talk back. I mean just nswer questions as they come up thats what we did and we answered to the best tht would help her understand and that may be a different idea for them or the same Idea. BTW sry bout your lose.

amyrebecca1853
by Amy on May. 23, 2013 at 5:28 AM
That's beautiful in a way. Thank you for the advice. We take lots of walks and come across things like that all the time.
Ill take the opportunity when it presents itself. Thanks again. :)

Quoting 12yrmama:

This is what I say to my kids: 'So and so' died, which means we can't see them anymore. It happens to everything; people, animals, plants, flowers. I'm sad because I won't see them anymore. But it will be okay, and I will feel better in a few days. Our pet died last fall, I had to be a little firm with my dd that she could not come back but that we loved her enough to make her happy while she was with us.


I make a point to show my kids when flowers, birds, even bugs, are dead. I don't push anything gross on them, but at some point you see or walk by something thats dead. I tell them that its dead and how next spring flowers came back. They are not the same, but new things came alive all the time. With animals kinda the same thing, there's always new babies.

amyrebecca1853
by Amy on May. 23, 2013 at 5:30 AM
I'm only 30! But anyway.... Lol...yeah not religious, more Buddhist if anything, I just didn't know if two was too young for them to even comprehend the gone forever kind of thing. You're right tho all I can do is answer questions as they have them... Thanks for your help. :)

Quoting MrsRinehart2010:

 Im not a 40 something mother but Ive dealt with this when my daughter(oldest) was about this age. IDK if you believe in heaven or not but my DD does (im not religious but she loves church). But any ways we just told her they went to heaven and werent in any pain and where watching down on her which gave her comfort. She knows they are passed on and wont be coming back an she can talk to them but they cant talk back. I mean just nswer questions as they come up thats what we did and we answered to the best tht would help her understand and that may be a different idea for them or the same Idea. BTW sry bout your lose.

SlightlyPerfect
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Thursday at 9:30 PM
by Bronze Member on May. 23, 2013 at 8:28 AM
1 mom liked this

I want to preface this with the fact that we are atheists. We don't have any beliefs regarding an afterlife or a deity, so when we're dead, we're dead, and that is what we emphasize with our 4-year-old daughter.

That being sad, I've always been up front with my DD. I use nothing but facts and psychological methods for helping her understand grief. When she was 2, my aunt passed away of pancreatic cancer. In March, my maternal grandmother passed away. Soon my mother will pass away of brain cancer. DD has been exposed to all 3 deaths and the respective grief that came with each.

Kids work in facts, but it depends on how you want them filtered. I'm philosophically fine with death, including my own mortality. I've worked through the existential anxiety, so speaking with her about it is something I handle well. Because you have a fear of death, I also recommend you work through that, too. It'll help you be a better mother.

Your best bet is to do some research on child psychology. Find out what 2-year-old children can handle. Lots of psychologists have free info on the web about how to teach children about death, and some include religious perspectives (if you are religious and want to teach your children there is an afterlife).

slightlyperfect

SlightlyPerfect
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Thursday at 9:30 PM
by Bronze Member on May. 23, 2013 at 8:31 AM
1 mom liked this
I do the same thing with animals and crops. Show them seeds, growth, harvests, and death. It's a great introduction to death.
Quoting 12yrmama:

This is what I say to my kids: 'So and so' died, which means we can't see them anymore. It happens to everything; people, animals, plants, flowers. I'm sad because I won't see them anymore. But it will be okay, and I will feel better in a few days. Our pet died last fall, I had to be a little firm with my dd that she could not come back but that we loved her enough to make her happy while she was with us.

I make a point to show my kids when flowers, birds, even bugs, are dead. I don't push anything gross on them, but at some point you see or walk by something thats dead. I tell them that its dead and how next spring flowers came back. They are not the same, but new things came alive all the time. With animals kinda the same thing, there's always new babies.

slightlyperfect

amyrebecca1853
by Amy on May. 23, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Thanks! I am in therapy dealing with the issue and the topic comes up a lot. But I'll do research on my own. You've been very helpful. Sorry for your losses also.

Quoting SlightlyPerfect:

I want to preface this with the fact that we are atheists. We don't have any beliefs regarding an afterlife or a deity, so when we're dead, we're dead, and that is what we emphasize with our 4-year-old daughter.

That being sad, I've always been up front with my DD. I use nothing but facts and psychological methods for helping her understand grief. When she was 2, my aunt passed away of pancreatic cancer. In March, my maternal grandmother passed away. Soon my mother will pass away of brain cancer. DD has been exposed to all 3 deaths and the respective grief that came with each.

Kids work in facts, but it depends on how you want them filtered. I'm philosophically fine with death, including my own mortality. I've worked through the existential anxiety, so speaking with her about it is something I handle well. Because you have a fear of death, I also recommend you work through that, too. It'll help you be a better mother.

Your best bet is to do some research on child psychology. Find out what 2-year-old children can handle. Lots of psychologists have free info on the web about how to teach children about death, and some include religious perspectives (if you are religious and want to teach your children there is an afterlife).

Crissy2424
by Bronze Member on May. 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM

I agree with what other moms are saying; just answer questions the best you can as they pop up. 

wingsfan1234
by Bronze Member on May. 23, 2013 at 10:00 PM

just tell them that 'so and so' died and we won't get to see them any more.. at two they may not understand now but you don't really need to explain unless asked at that age

we actually did this when I had a stillborn in 2011 our oldest was just 5 and asked questions my other dd at the time was only 2 1/2 and didn't understand at the time but now as started asking a few things here and there about her baby sister 

Mommy to two girls here on earth and one in Heaven watching over us

morning_glories
by on May. 23, 2013 at 10:06 PM
1 mom liked this

I think the best answer is to give very basic, at their level explanations and don't volunteer information. Let them ask first. Kids are awesome at lighting up a room, especially two year olds. Let them do that and everyone will remember that life is worth celebrating, and will help cheer your friend. (it is hard not to smile around two year olds)

im sorry 

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