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To ask for help answering DS (5) questions

(9 Posts)
4ForksSake Fri 02-Sep-11 18:38:43

Short background. I lost my mum when I was 15 (something which I still feel hard to talk about but that's for a different thread) & my DH also lost his dad when he was 15 (although unlike me, he's happy to talk about him)

Anyway, our DS who's 5 has now got to the stage where he keeps asking questions about his family. He'll ask questions about his grandma (DH's mum) & grandad (my dad) & about us when we were little etc etc & every now & then he'll ask about my mum & DH dad, what their names are & about them. He's never asked where they are (or realised that a lot of his friends have 2 sets of grandparents) & the only thing he knows about death is what they were taught at school at Easter & he thinks like Jesus, if you die, you come back again hmm He's just seen an advert for a doll on tv & said I'd have liked that when I was a little girl, which then made him ask where (my mums name) lived when I was little & when I said 'with me', he said 'you & grandad?'.

It's inevitable that the questions will become more in depth & there's only so long I'll be able to change the subject, so has anyone been in a similar situation & do you have any tips to help answer the inevitable questions that will come. Doesn't help that he's a sensitive little soul & I don't much like talking about things myself.

Any help greatly appreciated smile

KittyFane Fri 02-Sep-11 19:12:16

My dad died a long time before DD (8) was born as did DH's dad.

We refer to them both as grandad(first name).

When she asks questions about their life we just answer her.
She has asked where they are now and we have said that when a person dies they are gone forever- so actually they are nowhere physically after being buried/ cremated (Dead insects are strangely good for explaining what happens to the body when it dies!)

We have told her that although the body dies, everything the person has taught us and our memories of them stay in our hearts.

Depends how religious you are.. I was brought up RC and had a very interesting view on death when I was a child!!

spookshowangellovesit Fri 02-Sep-11 19:22:58

i do the you get buried or cremated, then some people believe you go to heaven, some people believe you die and thats it. (wait till they ask about reincarnation!)
that tends to lead to the question of what you believe and then thats up to you what you say, at 5 i doubt you will need massively in depth answers and as he grows you can just build on what you have all ready told him.
if you dont make it in to a massive scary big deal it wont be one.

ThatllDoPig Fri 02-Sep-11 19:34:23

I'd just answer all questions with honesty, within the dc's level of understanding. As you find it hard to talk about, your dc will sense this and it will become much more of an issue for you both. They are fascinated by anything shrouded in mystery and emotion.
It's ok to tell your ds how sad you feel about it, and how much you miss your loved ones.
If the pain is very raw for you still, maybe it is time to have some bereavement counselling for you, although be aware this can make things feel worse before they start to feel better. So maybe sooner rather than later, while your ds is still young enough to be easily shielded from any emotional fallout while you deal with your loss. Good luck.x

halcyondays Fri 02-Sep-11 20:32:06

I've wanted to ask the very same question myself. My mum also died when I was 15 and I haven't really talked about her much to the dds who are 5 and 3. Dd1 has Aspergers and I think dd2 may be showing some signs of it too. Like you I'm not very comfortable talking about it generally. One day we were talking about mil and out of the blue dd1 asked me "where's your mum?" We didn't really know to say and I think I said something vague about only dh's mum being around. She didn't ask anything more. Tbh,
I dread the day when I have to explain properly although I know I'll have to when she starts asking more questions. I want to be honest but don't want to scare her. I remember as a young child when I first found out that everybody dies being worried that my mum would die. They have never asked about dh's dad who left when he was only a few weeks old.

NestaFiesta Fri 02-Sep-11 21:43:52

I have told my DS1 that my grandparents are in Heaven and they are better now and not ill any more. This only works if you want them to be raised believing in Heaven and so is a personal choice.

The way I see it, when DS is old enough to figure out whether he believes in Heaven or not, he will be more mature and equipped to deal with the fact that death is a fact of life. He is only 5 at the moment. If he chooses to believe in Heaven all his life he will be a jolly optimist like his Mum. And how will I know if there really is a Heaven or not? Well let's just say I won't be able to tell him if I'm wrong.

thefirstMrsDeVere Fri 02-Sep-11 21:57:15

My DS also has ASD and he talks about his sister and grandparents a LOT.

He is 8 but has LDs so his understanding is that of a much younger child.

Death is a frequent subject in our house. Sometimes I find it very hard to deal with but I am glad he can talk about it.

I talk about heaven because that is what I believe. We have long chats about what DD is doing in heaven and why she died. I am factual about her illness and death. Kids do suprise you though. I thought DS had 'got it' until he started talking a lot about stabbings. Turned out he thought cancer was a person and the person had killed his sister shock

Anway I am rambling. Personally I think it is best to answer questions as they are asked. Children usually only want to talk about it for a short period at a time. A short, clear answer will probably be all they need until they ask again.

Avoid euphamisms (sp). I realise that some people think heaven is not factual but I mean stuff like 'fell asleep' or 'passed away' etc. These really confuse children.
It is also ok for you to say to your DC 'I find it very hard to talk about my Mum.' as long as he knows he can still ask you questions.

Sorry if thats all a bit rambly.

Pandsbear Fri 02-Sep-11 22:06:33

My Dad died just before I became pregnant with my DTs. They are now 6. They occasionally ask about my Dad (in relation to all the rest of the family so they are working out in their heads who is who etc).

Once they got to about 5 I have always just said 'he died' and we have had a few discussions about how and why which usually moves on to talking about a dead snail outside or something less emotive! It's actually easier now that it is part of the conversation but can still make my throat choke up when out of the blue - as children do - they start asking random questions usually triggered by something they have seen or thought.

They have not asked where he 'is' but I think that answer is very much down to your own beliefs and what you feel comfortable with.

4ForksSake Tue 06-Sep-11 10:23:52

Thanks for all the advice. Will give everyones ideas a try next time he mentions them. Halcyon, hope you manage to answer their questions when they come up - little blighters at catching you out aren't they? Mrs Devere, I am so sorry about your loss - thanks you for your advice smile

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