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To have told my 5 year old that his Grandad has died?

(63 Posts)
SauvingnonBlanketyBlanc Fri 22-Mar-19 16:27:07

My Grandad died in the early hours of the morning obviously very upsetting.I told my son after school,didn't go into grown up details just explained he had died in his sleep (was 91) .Ds asked a couple of questions then didn't mention it again.Do you think hes too young to be told? I've told him now and that cant be undone but I'm second guessing myself. TIA

PatMustardsBigTool Fri 22-Mar-19 16:29:32

Sorry for your loss thanks
I don't think it's too young. He'll be fine.

SauvingnonBlanketyBlanc Fri 22-Mar-19 16:30:13

Sorry Great Grandad not grandad

MoreSlidingDoors Fri 22-Mar-19 16:30:42

No. Shielding children from the truth isn’t worth it in the long run. (I’ve had about 35 years worth of counselling to deal with the effects).

Limensoda Fri 22-Mar-19 16:31:59

No he's not too young. I don't think any age is too young. Death isn't something to hide and whisper about.

NWQM Fri 22-Mar-19 16:33:00

So sorry to hear your sad news.

It’s good that you have kept it accurate. It will help in the long run.

Winston’s wish website has some good resources / tips.

Take care

sunshineandshowers21 Fri 22-Mar-19 16:33:01

my great grandma died when my son was five and we told him that she’d gone to heaven and that she was a star in the sky now. he seemed okay with that and used to wave and blow a kiss at the stars at bedtime.

InDubiousBattle Fri 22-Mar-19 16:33:24

I don't think you could not tell him tbh, especially if you and other family members are upset, it must be confusing and alarming not to know why for a child. My ds is 5 and I would absolutely tell him if someone we knew died. So sorry for your loss.

notacooldad Fri 22-Mar-19 16:33:56

Condolences OP.
You did the right thing.
He may ask some questions when you are not expecting them over the next couple of weeks so be prepared for that and as I'm sure you will,answer honestly without use of euphemisms!

TheOrigFV45 Fri 22-Mar-19 16:34:52

I'm sorry to hear about your grandad flowers

IMO it's not too young. You stated the facts, how can that be wrong?
You answered his questions ie followed his lead.

It's not unexpected for old people to die and I think allowing children to grow up experiencing this enables them to better able handle more difficult deaths that they will inevitably have to face during their lives.

Februaryblooms Fri 22-Mar-19 16:35:41

I'm very sorry for your loss.

There's nothing wrong with telling him or how you told him.

Yanbu flowers

OutInTheCountry Fri 22-Mar-19 16:35:46

I'm sorry about your grandad. I think you've done the right thing, you might find that he doesn't mention it for a while and then comes back to it.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Fri 22-Mar-19 16:37:06

Sorry for your loss.flowers

However you are categorically not unreasonable. Death is unfortunately a part of life the sooner children are exposed to this fact the less daunting and mysterious the subject of death is. It is really important that they are able to discuss death and its finality, keeping it from them or sugar coating it often causes lots of stress and misconceptions further down the line.

EstrellaDamn Fri 22-Mar-19 16:40:35

Of course it was the right thing, you can't keep things like that a secret. He'll accept it and keep going, kids are mostly pretty 'roll with the punches' with this kind of thing.

SauvingnonBlanketyBlanc Fri 22-Mar-19 16:40:53

Thanks everyone.Yes that's what I thought I didn't want to keep it from him,wanted to be honest.My husbands dad died when he was two,we didn't tell him then but he is aware now that he died a few years ago and asks about him occasionally.I really do feel that children should be told the truth I suppose I just wanted it confirming.

SauvingnonBlanketyBlanc Fri 22-Mar-19 16:41:19

When my son was two not dh

elfycat Fri 22-Mar-19 16:42:39

You've done the right thing. The truth in these matters is very important and you really can't go wrong with an age-appropriate explanation.

It might help your DS understand if you are a bit upset, rather than worrying what might be wrong.

What other choice is there really? He'll understand it as much as a 5 year old can, and as his understanding of death grows this will be an organic part of it.

My 5 year old cousin was told that our uncle had emigrated to New Zealand when he died. Oh it was so much fun 5 years later when she was at ours and we unknowingly let it slip...

Qwertylass Fri 22-Mar-19 16:43:46

Sorry for your loss. No not too young he will be fine

CatchingBabies Fri 22-Mar-19 16:45:03

My MIL died suddenly when my DD was 5, we had no option not to tell her as she spent the night there at least once a week and would have wondered why this was no longer happening. She dealt with it ok, had her upset moments but has accepted it and now talks about her memories of nanny in a positive way.

Milicentbystander72 Fri 22-Mar-19 16:46:48

No you were right. Never shield the truth. It's more confusing in the long run.

When my dd was 4, 2 of her close friends died 3 months apart. I had to deal with the death 'talk' very early on. Like your son, she moved on quite quickly.
12 months later she went through a period of being scared of people dying. We dealt with it at the time and got through it. She's 14 now.

There's no way I could have not told her.

Mouthfulofquiz Fri 22-Mar-19 16:49:25

My mum died recently and I have been very open with my dc, only using the word ‘died’ - not ‘lost’ or ‘passed away’ or ‘not woken up from a sleep’ as they might think she is coming back. They seem fine with it and the school have said to me how pleased they were that they could talk openly about their feelings when they were upset.

CountFosco Fri 22-Mar-19 16:50:11

FIL died last year and DS (5 at the time) was at the funeral (church service then graveyard). He was very good in the church and it was a great comfort to MIL to have all her family around her.

Dad died when my DDs were 1 and 2, they didn't come to the service or the graveyard but did come to the wake. DD1 asked loads of questions for months afterwards but DS didn't so it can really vary.

But the important thing is to be considerate, open and honest. Then if they have any questions they will be comfortable about asking them. I don't think any age is too young to know the simple facts, what's the alternative? I think it would be far more confusing to not know and wonder where that person has gone.

Don't doubt yourself, it's probably just your own grief surfacing, you've done the right thing flowers.

LovingLola Fri 22-Mar-19 16:55:34

Sorry to hear your sad news and you were right to tell him.
I would not have said that he died in his sleep though - you don’t want him to be afraid of going to sleep or being afraid that you may not wake up. Try to make sure that nobody else tells him that .

CaptainMyCaptain Fri 22-Mar-19 16:56:57

You did the right thing. My daughter told her children when my Dad died at 91. One of them (8) cried inconsolably for an hour or two and then was fine. The older ones understood that he was old and had been very ill and the youngest (6) seemed fairly unphased by it.

Spiritinabody Fri 22-Mar-19 17:00:44

I'm sorry for your loss OP.

I had a little brother who was born at home then died when he was 3 days old. I was 5 at the time. I remember seeing him in his crib when he was born then I distinctly remember my mum taking me into the front bedroom, pointing at the brightest star and telling me it was my brother and that he'd gone to heaven.
I don't remember it as something bad or anything else about it but I was old enough to understand.

I think you have done the right thing. We shouldn't shield children from the basic facts. Death is a natural part of life. I would shield children from seeing someone suffering during a dying process and not sure they need to go to funerals at an early age (mainly because they might get bored or play up) but the basic fact of death is fine. Just answer any questions as honestly as you can buy in an age-appropriate manner.

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