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how to help ds (6) deal with anxiety after death of relative

(3 Posts)
CHST Thu 21-Mar-13 21:23:33

Not sure if this is the right place to post but my mum's partner died in the summer. We talked to my son about this, planted a tree in our garden as a memory and he seemed to cope quite well with things. Fast forward some months and out of the blue he asked where my mum's partner was. He had recently had a school reading book where a little girl died. For weeks now he doesn't want to be left at school or beavers, he won't go to the toilet on his own, needs the light on at night, won't sleep alone. He says he doesn't want me to leave him as he loves me too much. Today he asked if only grandparents die, I said no as I don't want to lie. He said am I going to die. I said no. Then he said he didn't want to die and wasn't ready. He then said How will I die?
It is like he is consumed by these thoughts and it is really affecting him.
I don't know how to help him through this. I don't want to lie but don't want to make the situation worse. Where do I turn? 6 years old seems so young to be thinking about this type of thing so deeply

PoptartPoptart Tue 26-Mar-13 21:28:54

Bumping for you as I have no real advice, except that I experienced this exact same thing as a child. I was 6 years old when my Nan (my Mum's mum) died quite unexpectedly. At the time when they told me I remember feeling a bit sad but I found it more upsetting to see that my mum was so sad, even though she tried her best to hide her sorrow from me, I could just tell. A few weeks later I became very clingy and upset and wouldn't be left anywhere, at Brownies, or go to friends houses. Every night before bed I would make my mum promise me that she wouldn't die and that she'd be there in the morning and also when she dropped me at school every day I made her promise that she wouldn't die and that she'd be there to pick me up. I got a bit better as time went on, but to be honest I was always quite an anxious child and even into adulthood I am still likely to think the worst and be prone to anxiety. I'm sorry I'm not helping much or offering any real advice, the only thing I can say is that it was really important to me that she was always there on time to pick me up so I wouldn't think that something had happened to her and her constant reassurance also helped and she never got frustrated with me or made me feel that my fears weren't valid. I'm sure more people will be along to offer you more constructive advice soon, but have you thought about speaking to someone at your sons school for advice? Perhaps someone there has experience of this type of thing, or could point you in the direction of someone who may be able to speak to your DS like a family bereavement councillor? Wishing you and your DS all the best.

ChristmasJubilee Thu 28-Mar-13 09:09:23

I lost my Mum last June when ds was 5. Although it was very sudden she had been less able for some time so we were able to refer to things that she hadn't been able to do and ways in which she had been poorly to explain it a little. He was very upset when he was told but, I think, handled it well.

We took him to the funeral and involved him in all the choices. He made things to "go to heaven with her" and we let him choose things that belonged to her to keep. We explained that whilst younger people can die (a little girl at his school died last year so he knew this) it is really, really rare and it's mostly old people.

He did have a bed-wetting phase (although he had never been reliably dry at night) and a "wee bit of a clingy" phase but they have been short lived. He also makes up stories about things his granny told him, gave him or did with him which are completely fabricated. I either dispute it or agree with it depending on my mood.

He mentions granny most days and loved lighting chinese paper lanterns (at a friends birthday) as he thought they were going to where his granny lives.

It sounds as if the book has triggered something for your ds and I wonder if it may be worth mentioning it at his school in the first instance as the may links to resources to help him. There are charities and books to help children with these concerns but I haven't used any so can't advise.

I do hope he gets the help he needs.

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