Advanced search

Step mum has been talking to DD about death

(41 Posts)
Pennies Sat 09-Aug-08 22:39:28

Ten days ago we spent some time with my step mum and today all this odd and worried stuff came out from my DD1 (aged almost 4) about death.

It turns out it has come from my step mum who seems to have told her about the demise of her own mummy and daddy and also the fact that Nelson (yes, you read it right, Nelson the naval commander of the nineteenth century) was shot dead.

Previously when we've been confronted by death (which basically has been in the form of local well known animals (e.g. a horse we fed carrots to)) then we've just said that they've gone on a long holiday because we don't see the point in doing the whole death thing until it presents itself to us properly IYSWIM.

So AIBU that stepmum has been going on about the fact that her mummy and daddy died and that she doesn't see them any more? With no further explanation. Should I have explained about death to her before now?

Pennies Sat 09-Aug-08 22:47:15

Bumping because some stupid farkin troll has tripp-trapped me of active convos.

FFS hmm

MsDemeanor Sat 09-Aug-08 22:47:28

Death is part of life and yes it's find for people to talk to children about people who have died, especially if asked. Lying to children about this stuff is rarely a good idea IMO. I think it helps children if they know about death before someone really close to them dies. Disney films are full of death!

Pennies Sat 09-Aug-08 22:49:39

Well I'll talk about it if they go and squash a bug but I've not done the whole thing about people dying.

So, yes we've hidden from it a bit but not denied it entirely.

objectivity Sat 09-Aug-08 22:49:51

You can't lie to children about death,and death of an animal is no lesser thing to them than death of any living thing.

I can only see a problem if the subject was handled insensitively.

objectivity Sat 09-Aug-08 22:50:50

Do you think your DD asked?

Age 4 is not that young for having interest in the death subject I don't think.

cthea Sat 09-Aug-08 22:51:24

I also think it's better to talk truthfully about death rather than the "gone on a long holiday", "gone to sleep" alternatives. We told our son that when people die that's it, they're dead and gone, and he accepts this.

youcannotbeserious Sat 09-Aug-08 22:52:08

Don't lie. The sooner it's understood, the less of a hurdle it is. I used to picnic on my granddad's grave as a child. DId'nt see anything bad in that, he'd enjoy having us over...

DOn't lie, it's not going to change anything.

lazaroulovespastries Sat 09-Aug-08 22:53:21

Not up to your stepmum to enlighten your lo about death imo

funnypeculiar Sat 09-Aug-08 22:54:09

Ds got interested in death at about this age smile

He was (& remains at 4.5) quite interested in the idea, but not even slightly disturbed by it. He tells me what he'll do when I'm 'extinct' and likes to check occasionally who's dead (an ex-relatives roll call smile) Strangely enough we have also recently discussed Nelson being dead (visit to Nat Gallery via Nelsons Column)

I would be slightly annoyed that someone else had had the conversation before me, but tbh, if she asked the question, and your step mother just answered it, I can't see you can be that annoyed with her, unless she knows you re avoiding the conversation?

youcannotbeserious Sat 09-Aug-08 22:56:35

Death is as natural as birth.

Why should we be so afraid? Nothing to be afraid of.

If a person was lovely in life, then they are lovely in death. My granddad was a wonderful person and I'm pleased to go and see his grave. He didn't change because he died.

Pennies Sat 09-Aug-08 22:57:43

Interesting. We haven't really death with it because the only thing (beyond mini-beasts) that have died has been this horse and we genuinely thought it was on holiday (it had a summer and winter field and it died in the summer field which we don't go near) so it really was on holiday. So death hasn't been on the menu here much, hence the terminology.

I would have thought it was too big a concept for a LO to cope with. Am I wrong?

ravenAK Sat 09-Aug-08 22:58:37

Ds is 4 & has been positively surrounded by death this year - a much-loved cat hit on the roads, the Sophie Lancaster memorial service at Whitby, his elderly great-uncle, the gerbil (another) cat got...

They're probably all equally significant to him at the moment. He is a bit obsessed & a bit anxious about people dying.

We try to be as honest & matter of fact about it as possible - it sounds like your dsm might just've been answering questions as they came up. Why the discussion about Nelson, anyway?

Pennies Sat 09-Aug-08 22:59:31

haven't really dealt with - sorry about that rather apt typo!

Pennies Sat 09-Aug-08 23:01:36

Not sure about the Nelson thing - we have a friend's brother and another friend's dog both called Nelson and Step-mum and my dad are rather into history. I suspect DD was talking about her friends called Nelson and crossed wires occurred.

Tommy Sat 09-Aug-08 23:01:43

I agree being honest is the best policy - your step mum may have just answered some questions for her.

TBH, I think that the death of an animal is a good way into talking about death anyway. If a relative died now, you would have to tell your DD wouldn't you? You couldn't pretend it hadn't happened.

PilgrimSoul Sat 09-Aug-08 23:05:22

I doubt your step mam told dd about her bereavements out of the blue (ulness she is quite odd generally). Your dd probably asked questions about her mummy and daddy, and her granny answered them. Perfectly acceptable.

Am puzzled as to how Nelson entered into the conversation though!

TheCrackFox Sat 09-Aug-08 23:14:34

Maybe your step-mum happened to be talking about her parents and your DC asked where they are now. She might not have planned to talk about it but came up naturally IYSWIM.

Alot of 4 year olds get quite interested about death. It is part of life and something we all learn about.

AbbeyA Sun 10-Aug-08 08:33:23

I expect that she asked a question and she answered it. Four year olds, especially girls, are fascinated by the subject. When I was a widow friend's children would ask me about it because they were curious; it was their parents who were embarrassed and tried to change the subject!
I should just be pleased that your DD obviously has a good relationship with step-mum. There is no saying how Nelson got into the conversation but I suspect that it didn't come out of the blue-something must have led to it.
I think it is a pity that death is seen as a taboo subject. The only sure things in life are death and taxes!

AbbeyA Sun 10-Aug-08 08:34:53

Sorry-I see it was your stepmum and not her step mum. It still holds that they have a good relationship. It probably came about as your DD sees her as old.

Roboshua Sun 10-Aug-08 08:52:55

IMO think you need to answer questions as honestly as possible when asked at an appropriate level. My just turned 3 year old is aware that he only has one Grand-dad because the other one died 'before he was born so). We've had lots of questions recently about who has come out of who's tummy ( he can't quite grasp the idea that his Grannie is my Mummy'). This has obviously lead on to the fact that various relatives ie his great Grandma are dead. He hasn't asked in any great detail but just accepts the fact that when someone is dead we don't see them anymore. Obviously the situation may change if it were someone he knew and loved.

Children asking sensitive questions of other people is always a bit of a mine field but i don't think your step mum was BU. Maybe she could have mentioned that your 4 year old was asking those questions though.

Roboshua Sun 10-Aug-08 08:56:52

Sorry should read just turned 4 year old.

Also I think you should just let the child ask a question and answer it as briefly as possible. If they want to know more they will ask. Sometimes being saying that X has died and I don't see them anymore is as much as a child wants to know. Obviously your DD has then wanted to know more and then started asking you. It's perfectly normal.

AbbeyA Sun 10-Aug-08 09:00:07

I don't see why she should have mentioned that she was asking those questions-it puts far too much importance on it. 4 year olds ask questions-it is perfectly normal.

Roboshua Sun 10-Aug-08 09:51:41

AbbeyA. totally agree with you. I was just talking about the OP as it is obviously an issue to her and I would have thought Stepmum may have been aware she would want to know??

AbbeyA Sun 10-Aug-08 11:36:03

I think OP is putting too much onto the whole thing and I don't think that stepmum would even be aware that she wanted to know. If they ask, I tell children that my father died a long time ago, since I must seem incredibly old to them I don't think they find it strange or frightening. By the age of 4 children have come across death-even if it is only a wasp or squashed hedgehog-they are naturally curious and are exploring the subject.You just need to be matter of fact and answer questions and it seems that this is what stepmum did.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: