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toddler bursting into tears - fear of death????????

(4 Posts)
rumtumtugger Mon 01-Oct-12 14:21:05

My 20 month old dd is usually a happy little soul but wears her heart on her sleeve and feels things quite strongly. A couple of times now she has burst into hysterical inconsolable tears after seeing a picture in a book of one of the characters with its eyes closed (the first time it was a book about a bunny who was going to sleep; the second time it was one of the 'Wild Things' who napped after Max told them to ('Where the Wild Things Are' book).

I can only think that she's worried that they might have died or that they won't wake again...I have no idea where she might have got this notion from, and am not sure how to deal with it. I feel like it's my first real test of parenting tbh - I want to reassure her and to explain that they are only sleeping and they will be awake again but every time she looks at the picture she bursts into great wracking sobs again and I can only hold her and try to comfort her.

I've had to hide the books which is a shame as she loved reading both of them. She's definitely not scared of the characters, she was having a jolly old time reading the books with me before she noticed that their eyes were closed...

Do you think that this strange reaction could be anything else other than a fear of death? Also - I don't want to make her unnecessarily afraid of death either! Any tips?!

WeAllHaveWings Mon 01-Oct-12 14:25:23

ds is 8 so cant really remember the 20mth old stage, but I dont think ds would have had any concept of death at the age.

I did have a nephew who went through a stage of crying everytime he saw my dh, a niece who cried everytime she saw someone with thick glasses, and one of ds's friends went nuts when he saw anyone with bright red lipstick.

Not sure why she doesnt like to see them sleeping, but I would be amazed if it was linked to death.

rumtumtugger Mon 01-Oct-12 14:36:30

No, it does seem a bit far-fetched. I can't imagine why she is so aggrieved that they are having a nap though, especially as the next page shows the characters awake again.

BabydollsMum Mon 01-Oct-12 18:38:11

That is strange. Poor your DD. No advice/ideas only to say that I think this must be the age for funny phobias and sensitivity. DD's 19 months and will cry hysterically and jump into my arms sometimes and I can't fathom what she's seen or heard. It's like she's seen a ghost or something and I feel so helpless because I don't know what's caused it. It's happened a couple of times now. If your DD's like mine I think it's also the age where they begin to understand things that aren't there - more abstract things. But she can't have a concept of death yet, surely?

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