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for being worried about my 8 yr old thinking about death

(23 Posts)
maggieryan Wed 12-Aug-15 22:52:44

I had to give out to my 8 yr old and put him to bed early. Anyway he started crying and saying he was sorry and he hates himself sometimes(he made his little friend cry by laughing at her name)., Then he went on about how worried he is in case me or his dad die or my parents die and he can't bear the thoughts of us lying in a coffin. I tried telling him we werent going anywhere but he said what about nana and grandad(they're 82 and 78 and thankfully in good health). I said they're grand and won't be dying anytime soon and he asked would I promise. I did (which I know was wrong). Anyway it calmed him down but I'm worried that he is thinking about death at such a young age. His other nana died last year and he went to see her in funeral parlour and seemed okay. She had been Ill for a long time. He wouldn't have been as close to her. Is this normal behaviour? He's not usually senstive and I'd hate for him to start thinking about death all the time at such a young age. Any advice?

MrsBobDylan Wed 12-Aug-15 22:57:33

I wouldn't worry, it's a perfectly normal phase. My DS went through it at 5 and it went on for quite a while. Just listen and avoid making promises that are not within your control to keep.

WorraLiberty Wed 12-Aug-15 23:03:58

I agree with MrsBobDylan OP

All my 3 went through this phase, although at an earlier age (probably 4-5yrs old).

They just become aware of our mortality and it can be difficult to answer questions honestly, while not making promises.

Vernonon Wed 12-Aug-15 23:06:56

My 8 year old is like this. Her current theme is plane crashes - triggered by that pilot flying into the mountain. She was asking me tonight whether anyone had taken a bomb on a plane recently.

PaulAnkaTheDog Wed 12-Aug-15 23:08:10

Totally normal phase. I actually remember going through it myself. Death seemed terrifying to me and I couldn't ever imagine how anyone couldn't get hysterical about it. I think it's part of childhood. smile

reddaisy Wed 12-Aug-15 23:09:23

My 3 year old and my 6 year old both talk about death a lot at the moment. We just reassure them that usually people die when they are very, very old and that hopefully none of us are going anywhere soon. Then I make them laugh, if I can, by saying that they will be much older and have had their own children to boss around and their own grandchildren to tell to put their shoes on etc etc before they die. That when they are adults they can have pasta for tea every night and cook it for me when I visit from next door (I won't be allowed to move far obviously!) - as they would both eat pasta for every meal if they could. So reassure and distract is my advice but totally normal behaviour.

reddaisy Wed 12-Aug-15 23:10:10

To be honest if I think about it too much it freaks me out too so I had better leave this thread grin

RonaldosAbs Wed 12-Aug-15 23:28:12

I would be far more worried about him saying he hates himself than talking about death, the death thing is normal,for people of all ages to get upset about sometimes. Maybe try a few subtle self esteem boosting exercises if he says things about hating himself.

PtolemysNeedle Wed 12-Aug-15 23:45:21

I don't think we do children any favours by saying that it's not going to happen for a long time. I know that's the natural response, but it is going to happen at some point, and I think it's better to teach children that there is nothing to fear from death in the same way you would if they were telling you they were scared about going to secondary school years in the future, or they were scared of their grandparents going on holiday for a couple of weeks.

I think we have to be honest (age appropriately) and matter of fact about it, otherwise it's just telling them they are right to be scared and that death is a terrible thing instead of just the natural consequence of life.

TheCunnyFunt Wed 12-Aug-15 23:50:17

My 4 year old is the same, she often tells me quite tearfully 'When I'm a grown up you will die, Mummy. And I will miss you when you die.' And in films if people get hurt/knocked over/squished she'll say 'They're DEAD now.'

throwinshapes Wed 12-Aug-15 23:56:32

Totally agree Ptol, but aren't you fearful of dying too soon?
Much as I think death is a natural process, I hate the idea of leaving dc anytime just yet.
And OP my 8yr old is really worried about death. Can't walk past a cemetery without hiding her face ��
Not allowed to talk about 'dying' either.

DisappointedOne Thu 13-Aug-15 00:01:08

A sibling of mine died when I was young. The way it was handled has made me deal with the concept completely differently with DD. I'm not afraid of dying. When relatives have died we've not hidden it from DD. she's seen her dad crying over the loss of a grandparent. We haven't done heaven or angels or watching from the clouds. the Book Of Life is a brilliant film for showing how remembering those that have gone keeps them alive in our hearts. Works for my rising 5 in a way that hiding it all wouldn't.

TooOldForGlitter Thu 13-Aug-15 00:06:07

It's normal. Horrible, but normal. IME it happens when they just start to move away a tiny bit from being a 'little kid'. It can be puberty, or just that stage where they sort of step up a level. It's like they figure out, nope we aren't immortal. It usually fades away as pals/moshi monsters/you tube videos fill their brains but it rears its head from time to time.

None of us like being reminded we have an expiry date smile

SolidGoldBrass Thu 13-Aug-15 00:06:55

All kids become aware at some point that they will die and the people they love will die, simply because that is true. My father died when DS was 6 and we have obvioulsy had a few discussions on the subject since. I have told DS that most people live till they are pretty old and have full lives, and that he and the rest of us are in good health and not that old so we can hope that we will also live good long lives, and while I haven't told him that only old people die, I don't go into too much discussion of death among the young because for the moment I don't want him constantly terrified that he or I or his dad or his mates could drop dead any second.

Floisme Thu 13-Aug-15 07:12:44

I think it's completely normal too. My child's friend died at 5 so we had no choice but to deal with it head on. I just tried to talk to him about it honestly and openly and to give as much information as I felt he could handle. I remember saying 'nobody knows' a lot. Also my son became very anxious about who would look after him if we died and answering that question (other family members) seemed to help. I would definitely avoid saying only old people die - you just don't know.

quaintlittlevilllages Thu 13-Aug-15 07:15:54

I feel it was unwise to tell him his grandparents aren't going anywhere. Children aren't stupid and they know death can happen to anyone at any time even if they don't fully understand why and telling them 'it won't happen' dismisses their fears.

Adults often want children to shut up about conversations they themselves find uncomfortable.

ValancyJane Thu 13-Aug-15 08:13:22

Totally normal, when my cousin was six or seven she got really preoccupied with death and started asking loads of worried questions about it in the few days following her parents wedding. We figured out it was the 'til death do us part' bit of the vows that had triggered it all in her head, bless her!

maggieryan Thu 13-Aug-15 20:25:14

Quintlittlevillaegs you're right. I shouldn't have said but heart breaking looking at him. I also hate talking about death anyway, v morbid.So it probably doesn't help my son. Thanks everyone. He's grand today

hazeyjane Thu 13-Aug-15 20:33:55

It is really hard to talk about death when they are young.

My friend, who was dd1's best friend's mum died 4 years ago, when dd1 and her friend were 5, she was the same age as me, and it led to lots of conversations about dying, and the fact that it can happen because of illness, or old age, and all we can do is think about the living part rather than the dying part. I remember talking a lot about the circle of life and feeling like I had swallowed the Lion King. It doesn't make any of it any easier, because it is not an easy thing for anyone to make sense of, if ever we do.

whambamslam Thu 13-Aug-15 20:36:40

Ah poor boy. Sounds like he's quite bright and he understands what death entails....to be honest when I start to think about it I get a bit weirded out! Sounds like you handled it well OP.

KetchupIsNearlyAVegetable Thu 13-Aug-15 20:38:35

Completely normal. Always at flippin bed time too. Or on the bus when everyone is gawping waiting to heat what you say.

Death is part of life.

-- I did once promise my 4yo I would never die just so he would go the fuck to sleep. --

Sharptic Thu 13-Aug-15 20:40:45

I do think it's completely fine to be worried about death, who wouldn't be.

My ds went through a stage of anxiety about death when he was about 4, he still brings it up, he did again today actually while eating his lunch.

I would take him back to when he wasn't here before he born and when he was in my tummy, I tried to explain that he didn't mind not being here before and he won't mind not being here after either. I would try and be honest but not too direct either.

I also remember going through this as a child, it's a very real and disturbing feeling

Bettercallsaul1 Thu 13-Aug-15 21:08:29

I did once promise my 4yo I would never die just so he would go the fuck back to sleep.

Don't feel bad, Ketchup - I once assured my 4yo that they would invent a magic elixir during her lifetime so nobody would die. She still reminds me about it, aged twenty-three. grin

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