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Breaking the news that somebody has died to children

(10 Posts)
Spakledsockmonkey Mon 16-Jan-17 13:52:39

Tonight I have to break the news to our four DC that our neighbor has died. He was the closest thing they had to a grandfather and it was very sudden. How do I tell my DC, who are aged 12, 9, 6 and 4?

We live in a European city. DP works in the U.K., traveling back home at weekends. Our neighbor died last Thursday and I decided to wait until their father was home before telling the children. DP said he was "still processing" and wanted to wait until he was back in the U.K. before I broke the news. DP can be very funny about death and dying. He didn't tell the children about the death of their real grandfather for months and only he attended the funeral. I am of the opposite mindset where you don't shield children from death, that it's part of life and better in the long run if children are told openly and honestly.

I am, of course, royally pissed off with DP.

ferriswheel Mon 16-Jan-17 13:56:32

I am sorry to hear your sad news. Perhaps just tell them and take it from there? Sorry not much help, but far better than shielding them.

BackforGood Mon 16-Jan-17 13:59:42

I'd just be open, honest and direct... "I have some sad news.... X dies today" (well, not sure what you are going to say when they ask why you didn't tell them last week, but).
Then wait and see what they ask, and try to answer as honestly as you can. Children can be very matter of fact about deaths.

Spakledsockmonkey Mon 16-Jan-17 20:05:49

Thank you. I told the oldest two individually and they took it well. DS2 started talking about stars and space after I told him. Lots of questions but they were OK in the end. We have plans to attend the funeral to say a proper goodbye.

ferriswheel Mon 16-Jan-17 20:33:10

Maybe you could say, in future conversations, that his body has stopped working but his ideas and kindness stays alive through their actions and memories. Or something like that?

SallyInSweden Tue 17-Jan-17 19:38:39

Your husband!!! What the actual hell

I think you need to talk to your DP about his attitude to death, it really isn't healthy and won't have a good impact on your children.

Glad to hear your kids took it well.

"___ has died" is the best way to do it really; sugarcoating it can be damaging in the long run (especially the "gone to sleep" metaphor!) but to actually shield them from death altogether... that's a really bad precedent for your DP to set.

Sorry to hear about your neighbour flowers

MarciaBlaine Tue 17-Jan-17 21:46:49

You tell them the truth tailored a bit to how old they are. We have lost family members when DD was all the ages yours are now. She attended some funerals and not others accordingly. I lost a parent at a young age. It does no favours to pretend it didn't happen.

MarciaBlaine Tue 17-Jan-17 21:50:02

Illness and death are a part of life. I struggled for many years dealing with these things as the "thing" was to never mention anything about it.

Babyroobs Mon 30-Jan-17 17:14:27

I have had to tell my 4 kids that a grandparent has died three times over the past few years ( 2 of those sudden, no warning at all). I told them all individually and was completely honest with them, and encouraged them to ask any questions etc.

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