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Talkin to kids about death

Posted by on Apr. 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM
  • 10 Replies

The topic has randomly come up with my 4 year old. When we talk aboutfamily I have to explain where her dads mom is, another day we rode passed a cemetary. After I explained a little she came back and asked more a few weeks later. Its been a little tough finding the words without scaring her. She told me she doesnt ever want me to die. I dont want her to think that way. Luckily she hasnt had to deal with anyone close to her passing away. What are your experiences having this talk with your kids and at what age did you talk to them?

by on Apr. 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM
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Replies (1-10):
beadingmom17
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Well, unfortunately, my kids have been dealing with death since they were babies (DH's grandpa passed when our oldest was 9 mos old, my great-grandma when our oldest was 11 mos, DH's grandma when our girls were 20 mos and 2 mos, and my grandpa whom they were very close to when they were 4.5yrs and 3yrs).

We have talked about death a lot. I'm just very honest with them and answer their questions as they come.
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alexis_06
by AnnaLisa on Apr. 26, 2013 at 12:22 AM

 my daughter is 8..and i dunno, she knows about death...but i dont think she really fully 'gets it'...i mean, i'm 30, and to this day i have never been to a funeral...i have never had anyone close to me pass away..(aside from animals) so i dont even know how i would react..so yaa, i've talked to her about it, a little..but..nothing much.

sissy502
by Member on Apr. 26, 2013 at 12:57 AM
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Quoting crystaleve29:

The topic has randomly come up with my 4 year old. When we talk aboutfamily I have to explain where her dads mom is, another day we rode passed a cemetary. After I explained a little she came back and asked more a few weeks later. Its been a little tough finding the words without scaring her. She told me she doesnt ever want me to die. I dont want her to think that way. Luckily she hasnt had to deal with anyone close to her passing away. What are your experiences having this talk with your kids and at what age did you talk to them?

The subjest of death is not one of those "talks" we have with our kids & then it goes away. When something has them thinking about it, they do best if it's handled in small bites.

Answer the questions they have but don't go on & on about it. (they will ask different questions often)

When my son was in first grade his little brother died.His little brother dieing left my son confused & frightened for a couple of years actually. He had nightmares & even expierenced survivors guilt.

He so badly wanted to know "why did it have to be his brother" and the theripist told us to answer his questions honestly. (we didn't know why his brother became ill... ) We were told not to tell him tings like "God oved him so much he took him to with Him in heaven" or "it was just his time") 

If we didn't know why... then the best thing was to tell him "i don't know". Oh sure we told him that death is a part of living but we tried to focus on ways he could make his brother proud. (be the best man he could be, help oters who are hurting. enjoy life to it's fullest)

Kids do need to know that their parents don't have all the answers. They learn soon enough that nobody does.... even parents. But they do need to know that their parents will be honest with them!! If you don't know know something, there is no shame in telling your child "i dunno".

If child asks "why did gramma die" & the cause was cancer.... explain cancer.

If it was a drunk driving accident... explain the dangers of drunk driving.

If the cause was a heart attack... explain the importance of a growing a healthy heart.


crystaleve29
by on Apr. 26, 2013 at 1:49 AM

so far i explained that a cemetary is place they bring people when they die. and i explained that people die for different reasons such as getting so sick they dont get better or getting very hurt. i also told her not to worry about me and when we go to drs appts thats a way to keep us healthy so we dont get sick.her questions come sometimes weeks apart, sometimes after seeing something on a show or hearing something. I try my best to be honest in a way she understands but shes still so young so its tough finding the words and i dont like to scare her. 

la_bella_vita
by Gold Member on Apr. 26, 2013 at 9:57 AM

 I had to have a death talk a couple of months ago when DD's friend died. I just tried to explain it to her as gently as I could.

yperez0209
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2013 at 10:03 AM
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I've spoken to them as the need as arise. My mother was in her 40's when I was born and my father in his 50's, so we've had a few aunts and uncles pass. My father passed and so did there cousin last yr. Another opportunity I had was last yr when I lost a pregnancy half way through. They already knew mommy was carrying a baby, so I had no choice but to address it. 

I think it also depends on your beliefs. We are Catholic and I explain to them that the person is in heaven with God. That we can communicate with them through prayer. I allowed the two older ones go to my nephews funeral to say good bye. With the baby we all attended, my husband carried the small casket and placed it in the ground. We had a priest and we all prayed together. Now they have a place to go and visit there sibling. 

I try to explain that death isn't scary, it natural and for us the goal is to reach heaven when God decides it's our time. I answer all there questions and I don't hide much because we never know when they will have to deal with the death of one of us or a brother or sister. I rather have them prepared then totally devastated. It's not easy no matter what, but we've been given many opportunities to prepare them.

LoreleiSieja
by Bronze Member on Apr. 26, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Do a gardening project with her.

Show her a small seed, like a bean seed.  Explain that you have to put it in the ground, because it won't grow otherwise.  The seed has to "die" before it can live.

Watch the bean grown.  Pick the green beans that form eventually.  Eat a few.  let at least one green been pod stay on the plant until the plant is old and dead and dried up.  The pick the pod and open it up to see the seeds inside.  Plant a seed again...

This little activity is so fun for children, yet can SHOW the cycle of life. Depending on how you explain it, she may see that "dying" isn't so scary.  

She should be fine about it... but if she obsesses about death, you may need to see a counselor.  I had an aunt that focuses on death from the time she was two years old (not normal).  She would draw pictures of herself commiting suicide (not normal).  Her parents ignored it, until she was 44 and did commit suicide.  It was a different time, a different age, but now people know that she was bi-polar.  Kids asking about death is normal, but obsessing about it is not.  

LindaClement
by Linda on Apr. 26, 2013 at 11:22 AM

It's unlikely to scare a 4yo ... their curiosity knows no limits and they don't process information at all they way they will when they're 10 or 11...

News broadcasts and Disney movies are far more likely to scare a 4yo than a fact-based discussion about death.

zboys
by Member on Apr. 26, 2013 at 5:22 PM

We live by a cemetary.  When the boys were small (they're over 17 now), we used to take walks and/or ride our bikes around the cemetary since they have little streets and it was a safe place traffic-wise.  I wanted them to be comfortable around the cemetary and to know that it's a part of life.  Two of my guys go there on there own nowadays and walk around.

kali_mom
by on Apr. 26, 2013 at 8:47 PM
She is just curious which is a good thing. Be honest with your replies and make sure you answer her with out prejudice or reservation. As she grows and matures she will be better suited to fully grasp what death is.
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