To send ds to play therapist(14 Posts)
My 5 year old ds is very preoccupied with death, since the concept was introduced to him last November at school. He's very worried about his dad dying (very strongly attached to him) but also worries about dying himself, about me or his grandparents dying, and about what happens when we die. I've tried reassuring him and empathising with him, I've told him we won't die until we are very old (hoping that this won't turn out to be untrue) and that when we die there are people who love us who will help us in the afterlife so we none of us will ever be alone. None of this seems to have really helped so I'm considering sending him to a play therapist so that he can work through his anxieties. Am I over reacting?
Yes. All children go through this particularly if they experience or hear of death. Unfortunately there is only so much reassuring you can do because death is a fact of life. You do right to try and reassure him that hopefully people will die when they are very old and that is normal otherwise the planet will be overpopulated. It is up to you what you explain happens afterwards but I think we all have a wobble now and then. He will work through it and be fine . My children went through several of these phases and I was even challenged one parents evening because my daughter when given the topic of 'a box' to write about had written a story about a coffin. According to the teacher this was not normal! Well she's now 23 and has turned out just fine.
Thanks glam that's reassuring. Funny about your DD and the coffin
My DD is 5 too and death is something she is very interested in at the min..I think the best thing you can do is answer questions honestly. We aren't religious so we stay away from the whole heaven thing but that would be a personal choice. She knows that sometimes people and animals are sometimes so old or sick that doctors/vets can't fix them and they die. To be honest it amuses me when we drive past a graveyard and she tells me it's where dead people are planted . I wouldn't worry, it's just part of growing up.
I think play therapy is great and its a shame it isn't open to more children.
Play therapy is not an ordeal to children. To them It is just playing. If you can afford it or access it send your DS ASAP. If the therapist concludes he is a perfectly healthy boy who is developing normally you will have the double advantage of peace of mind PLUS the knowledge that you may be prone to worrying unduly. That could be useful in the future.
On the other hand if, through pleasurable, non intrusive, play therapy your son has an opportunity to work on previously unknown issues you will feel reassured that you are an intuitive and caring parent who did your best by her son.
As a play therapist I'd say that the majority of people could benefit from some non directive play therapy.
Children know what they need to do. He would use the sessions as he needs. Feel free to ask anything. Can point you towards how to find a registered therapist if needed.
My mother died when DD was 5. I thought this triggered constant questions about death and when I would die.
She is a few years older now and its mentioned far less. It is a phase and they are trying to make sense of the world. She only mentions death now to say she never wants me to die!
Don't overthink it and just answer the questions as truthfully but carefully as you can....you don't want him to think you are about to keel over any minute.
Dd is highly medically involved and has been close to death herself several times. She has lost a sister to the same condition (although her sister passed before she was born, Dd knows all about her). She has also lost several friends (children) over the last few years that she has been playmates with through the hospital and at her school.
We talk frankly about death. If I could afford therapy for her, I'd jump at the chance. If you feel your DS's interest in death is unhealthy, there would be no harm at all in speaking to a professional.
When my Grandad died, us kids were put in the bed he died in while we were staying over the night before the funeral. It did not bother us at the time but it is not something I would do to my kids now.
When my DD and Ds's Granny died, their Grandad had a traditional wake at home with an open casket so the kids got to say goodbye to Granny one last time. The only time they became uncomfortable was when their presence was "required" in the front room. They had been happily been sitting knitting and reading up in that same room up to that point.
For many months after we came back, there were a lot of coffins, crosses, church windows and headstones in their sketch books. I talked to them about it every now and again just so they did not feel it was something they were not free to raise with me. It was a just phase, a reaction to their Gran passing, which was their first experience of death. I think being able to express themselves in drawings and talking helped.
Nowadays they are back to drawing futuristic elaborate theme parks and fields full of horses.
Thanks everyone for the replies, haven't responded sooner because of computer problems sorry. Shtoppen, thanks for the perspective and reminding me what real problems look like, I've very little to worry about really. My thoughts are with you and your dd who has so much to cope with. Giraffes, thanks for the offer, I've got a recommendation for a therapist in the area already.
I'm going to wait a while and see how my ds manages, haven't had much mention of it since my initial post, so hopefully he will be alright. I'm grateful to all of you for taking the time to post, your opinions were very helpful.
It will pass. When mine went through it we lived next to a cemetery at the time, sadly the one my grandparents were buried in so every day on the school run "can we see nanny x today please?" "I miss nanny x" (they never met them) "what's it like to die?" etc etc
Then one day it stopped
DS went through this at around the same age, to the extent that he had a few nightmares about it. We spent a lot of time talking about it and what happens (for us, we become angels when we die), and it does seem to have passed at nearly 7. He still asks questions but doesn't seem quite so upset about the concept.
ShtoppenDerFloppen - have you heard of Winston's Wish. It is an amazing charity who work with kids affected by the death of close relatives. I wish I had their support as a child. I had no one my age to talk to about death, it made me very isolated. This charity does all sorts of camps and events so kids can meet people their own age going through similar whilst receiving specialist counselling.
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