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To be honest with 2.5 year old about pet death

(13 Posts)
JagerPlease Mon 01-Apr-19 10:44:39

DMs cat died yesterday. DS is 2.5 and has always adored the cat, he was the first thing he would look for whenever he gets to DMs house and any mention of Nanny immediately has him saying the cats name. We probably visit DM at least once a week so DS is very used to seeing him.

I'm fairly certain DS has no concept of death, and so was going to try and get away with just saying that the cat has gone away. But having googled articles, it seems advice is to be more honest as otherwise he'll expect the cat to come back.

So Aibu to try and explain that the cat has died, and if I'm not, has anyone got any hints for doing this with a toddler?

GreatDuckCookery Mon 01-Apr-19 10:51:40

Yes don’t say he’s gone away because that could imply he will return. You could say he was poorly and that he won’t be living at granny’s house again. Children are very resilient in these circumstances and are led by us.

Dohangoversgetworseasyougetold Mon 01-Apr-19 10:55:42

I think I'd probably be honest with your DS. My mother's cat died a few months ago when DD was the same age and, without checking with me, my mother took the decision out of my hands and told DD that the cat had gone to live on a farm (my mother has a tendency to be controlling and has boundary issues). I let the subject go because I didn't want to hit DD with the double whammy of "the cat died AND your grandmother lied to you" . However, I really regret the fact that DD wasn't told the truth because I think she knew something wasn't quite right, e.g. she stopped talking about the cat almost entirely except for making a couple of comments about the cat being "very old" .

Lllot5 Mon 01-Apr-19 10:57:03

When my granddaughter’s rabbit died we just said he’s gone to live in the stars. Bit wishy washy I know but she seemed ok with that.

Alsohuman Mon 01-Apr-19 11:01:28

Be honest. And don’t be surprised if the reaction is pretty callous. A friend struggled with this when her son’s pet rat died. After we’d spent a whole morning agonising over telling him, when she did he asked if he could whirl Ratty round by his tail now.

JagerPlease Mon 01-Apr-19 11:02:13

Thanks all. I will try and explain he was poorly as a lead in and I do quite like the stars idea actually as that could be a tangible place that he's gone

MotherForkinShirtBalls Mon 01-Apr-19 11:02:54

Dd's nan's dog died when she (dd) was about that age. I told her he had died and become a star. She was sad but liked looking for him in the sky.

Chocolateisfab Mon 01-Apr-19 11:04:25

My dgs has lost 2 ddogs recently. He was told they are in Heaven in the sky. He talks about them as if they are on holiday!! Never mentions them coming back though! He was 2.5.

DemelzaPoldarksshinerrefiner Mon 01-Apr-19 11:06:13

There’s a book to help children deal with the topic of death called “Badger’s parting gifts” might be worth a look.

Divgirl2 Mon 01-Apr-19 11:14:28

There's also a Mog book that covers this - I think it's called "Goodbye Mog". If you can read it without dissolving into tears I'll be impressed.

I think honesty is the best policy with death, personally.

Danascully2 Mon 01-Apr-19 11:16:57

I would be honest. An older lady my son knew died around that age and I was honest and said she'd died and we wouldn't see her again. I had a few questions now and again but not real upset. We used to talk about nice things we remembered about her. You could do that with the cat - talk about why the cat was special eg little quirks it had, its soft fur. I think it's especially important to be honest if little one sees that your mum is upset as then she knows why.

PhilomenaButterfly Mon 01-Apr-19 11:18:24

YANBU. Always be honest.

Damntheman Mon 01-Apr-19 11:25:07

Yes, be honest! It'll help down the line when there is people death to handle.

I used Goodbye Mog with my son when my dad died, Mog goes off to the sun when she's sure her family will be okay without her. That book fucking broke me though, I wasn't aware it existed until adulthood and I read most of the others as a child.

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