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april
July 8th, 2008, 12:08 PM
My son (6 years old) just recently realized that people are mortal and he is very upset and scared. He said, "I thought I will leave forever". And now he asks us questions of when he will die, asks us at what age people die, wants us to confirm over and over again that he has long life ahead of him. I am trying to undermine this. I tell him he was just recently born, has a very long time ahead of him, that he should not be thinking about that and then I try to draw his attention to something else.

But I am not sure this is the right way to handle it. I can't lie to him and say he'll never die, or that people do not die until a certain age, but my heart is breaking when I see that he is scared. I really want to help him to get over it as soon as possible. May be he'll get over it by himself and this is just age appropriate?

How did you handle it with your kids?

KayKay
July 8th, 2008, 12:13 PM
My kids were 7 and 5 when my D died, so we were right where you are. We're Catholic, so I approached it from a faith-based aspect. A book called What's Heaven by Maria Shriver was extremely helpful (and comforting to me, as well)

My suggestion would be to find an age-appropriate book that explains death in a manner consistent with your own belief system. Here's a link to the one I liked, and others noted on the page.

http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Heaven-Maria-Shriver/dp/0312382413/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215544210&sr=8-1

Any idea what has sparked this as of late?

april
July 8th, 2008, 12:28 PM
My kids were 7 and 5 when my D died, so we were right where you are. We're Catholic, so I approached it from a faith-based aspect. A book called What's Heaven by Maria Shriver was extremely helpful (and comforting to me, as well)

My suggestion would be to find an age-appropriate book that explains death in a manner consistent with your own belief system. Here's a link to the one I liked, and others noted on the page.

http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Heaven-Maria-Shriver/dp/0312382413/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215544210&sr=8-1

Any idea what has sparked this as of late?

Thanks, Kaykay. What sparked this, was that his pet fish died. He was upset and then suddenly asked: "Do humans also die?" And this started a whole chain of thoughts for him. He has a very logical mind (both parents are scientists, he is bound to), so not only he deduced that people die, but also that they die unexpectedly sometimes (as his fish did).

And from jewish point of view, there is no heaven, jews do not really pay much attention on what happens after death, it is kind of in the God's hands, they believe we are responsible and should concentrate on what happens during life. And, besides, being a scientist myself, I believe in even less and can't tell him something I don't believe in.

KayKay
July 8th, 2008, 12:31 PM
Of course! Sorry... I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I'm just saying that there are probably books that explain it on a kid-appropriate level that are consistent with whatever beliefs about death you have.


ETA: Here's another one... this one may be more useful to you. :)

http://www.amazon.com/Lifetimes-Bryan-Mellonie/dp/0553344021/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215545703&sr=1-1

Also - The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

april
July 8th, 2008, 12:48 PM
Of course! Sorry... I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I'm just saying that there are probably books that explain it on a kid-appropriate level that are consistent with whatever beliefs about death you have.


ETA: Here's another one... this one may be more useful to you. :)



http://www.amazon.com/Lifetimes-Bryan-Mellonie/dp/0553344021/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215545703&sr=1-1

Thanks again KayKay, this (second) book indeed sounds very useful. I'll order it. And please, you did not need to say sorry at all. I clearly understood that you suggested to explain consistent with our belief system and used catholic explanation as an example.

But my question is wider: is it good to discuss these things with a child in depth or it is better to undermine them? I mean, he asked, I answered, we move on. Can a book about death make him concentrate too much on the matter?

KayKay
July 8th, 2008, 01:02 PM
I don't think so... not if you add it to the regular rotation of books. It's a fact of life...

Pandsala
July 8th, 2008, 01:13 PM
maybe a better thing to do if you are ok with it, is tell him what people believe. My DS delt with this when he was 5 and his pawpaw died, ds1 loved his pawpaw a LOT, andit hit him like a ton of bricks when he died.

we told ds what people believe, like christians believe in heaven, wiccans in the summerland etc etc, and detailed those beliefs, and when he asked what was the truth i told him i didnt know, but that it wasnt scarey because no matter what happened we would all love him and be with him. But talking about all the different afterlife beliefs(reincarnation seemed to help him the most) seemed to give him some comfort in the sense that he doesnt think all those people who believe can be wrong, and that there is something after death thats good.

i did do a lot of redirection when he got too intense with it, and guided him when he calmed down so that he could deal with it better.

nonnymouse
July 8th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Being matter of fact about when my DD (5yo) brings it up is how I handle it. "Yes, everyone dies."

It is okay to say, "I am not sure, why don't we find answers to that question together?" When you don't have an answer too. Exploring kids questions in a age appropriate way without having an answer can help take way the fear IMO.

This book is good IMO... http://www.amazon.com/Blessing-Skinned-Knee-Teachings-Self-Reliant/dp/0142196002/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215547743&sr=1-2

I own it. There is a section on addressing big Qs like death and faith with your kids when we don't touch those questions in our own lives. It is from a Jewish perspective, though I'm not Jewish, I got a lot out of it.

april
July 9th, 2008, 02:04 PM
maybe a better thing to do if you are ok with it, is tell him what people believe. My DS delt with this when he was 5 and his pawpaw died, ds1 loved his pawpaw a LOT, andit hit him like a ton of bricks when he died.

we told ds what people believe, like christians believe in heaven, wiccans in the summerland etc etc, and detailed those beliefs, and when he asked what was the truth i told him i didnt know, but that it wasnt scarey because no matter what happened we would all love him and be with him. But talking about all the different afterlife beliefs(reincarnation seemed to help him the most) seemed to give him some comfort in the sense that he doesnt think all those people who believe can be wrong, and that there is something after death thats good.

i did do a lot of redirection when he got too intense with it, and guided him when he calmed down so that he could deal with it better.

THanks, Pandsala, this is a very good idea, and it is in line with what we told him about God existence. I mean, we told him that some people believe in God, some don't, but nobody really knows. And those people that believe, do it differently,there are christians, jews, muslims etc. And that some people believe that God created everything and some in evolution. He wanted to know what we think. We said we believe in evolution, but as to the question whether God exists, we think probably yes. I guess, we can approach the life and death questions with the same attitude, as you suggested.

april
July 9th, 2008, 02:05 PM
Being matter of fact about when my DD (5yo) brings it up is how I handle it. "Yes, everyone dies."

It is okay to say, "I am not sure, why don't we find answers to that question together?" When you don't have an answer too. Exploring kids questions in a age appropriate way without having an answer can help take way the fear IMO.

This book is good IMO... http://www.amazon.com/Blessing-Skinned-Knee-Teachings-Self-Reliant/dp/0142196002/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215547743&sr=1-2

I own it. There is a section on addressing big Qs like death and faith with your kids when we don't touch those questions in our own lives. It is from a Jewish perspective, though I'm not Jewish, I got a lot out of it.


THanks, nonny, I am ordering this book. I read pages from it and it seems something I need to read. Thanks!

Laser Domo
July 19th, 2008, 05:41 PM
But my question is wider: is it good to discuss these things with a child in depth or it is better to undermine them? I mean, he asked, I answered, we move on. Can a book about death make him concentrate too much on the matter?

I think you can definitely talk about it in depth; just at an age-appropriate level, and I think the book will help deal with that. To ease his worries about dying young, you could also inform him of ways to stay safe and healthy so he WILL live a long time. I don't know if you did that already, but if you haven't, this is a perfect opportunity to get him into the idea of being responsible when it comes to his well-being.