Child Obsesssed with Death

(9 Posts)
NickyW Fri 22-Nov-02 08:48:21

My Aunt died two years ago when my DD was two and seemed to make no impression on her at the time - they weren't very close. Now she has suddenly started talking about my Aunt and her death and deasth in general, going to heaven to see God/Jesus etc and gets very upset telling me she doesn't want to die. I try to be truthful but light - ie it won't happen until you are very old, heaven is a nice place, etc but she remains concerned. We seem to have this conversations a couple of times a day. No one else she knows has died recently and I can't think what has prompted this. Does anyone else have experience? Is it a phase? Should I lie to her and say she won't die or should I continue on the current tack?

OP’s posts: |
Azzie Fri 22-Nov-02 10:11:16

NickyW,

My ds went through a phase when he was about 4.5yo of talking about death all the time - he seemed pretty obsessed about it. He never got really upset about it, but wanted to know all about how my father had died, what happened to the body etc, all the details however gruesome. Dh and I got used to it, but my mum looked after him one afternoon and found it quite a shock!

I think it is something that they start to think about at that age. My advice would be to continue as you are doing, being calm and matter-of-fact about it all, but reassuring her that she won't die for a very long time. If you have faith, and can talk about heaven, then that will probably help (unfortunately we have had to deal with this issue from an atheistic point of view, which I think probably makes it a bit harder).

My experience suggests that you should be truthful with her, but as reassuring as possible. I'm sure this is a phase (my ds at 5 rarely mentions death these days). When my much-loved grandfather died recently, my ds (who also loved him) was able to handle it all remarkably well (including being a total hero at the funeral) because we had talked about it so much.

zebra Fri 22-Nov-02 12:57:08

Azzie is right about it being normal for the age. When I was 5yo we visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and I was fascinated with this new concept -- death. I played possom (pretended to be dead) frequently for the rest of the holiday, scaring my poor parents witless the first time. Ignored me thereafter.....Guess if it was my kid, I would just keep hugging and saying "Don't worry about it, it won't happen for a very very very long time."

emsiewill Fri 22-Nov-02 16:58:27

My dd2 is going through a phase like this (aged 3.5). I try not to lie and say that she/I/her sister/dad won't die, but I do tell her that it won't be for a long time. I think the reason that she (my dd) is so interested is that she enjoys making herself feel sad. She says things like "but when I die I will miss you" and similar things, and tears well up in her eyes. However, she really doesn't seem disturbed by it - she'll definitely be the "weepy movie" type when she gets older.
So I would say, don't lie to her, just give her the facts in a way she will understand, and then try and move the conversation on. (sounds so easy when I write it! )

SofiaAmes Fri 22-Nov-02 23:52:57

My step son went through a death phase when he was 6 or 7. His was more of a boy/dramatic one though. He's ask lots of questions like "If that building fell down would it fall on everyone in the street and squish them and kill them? How much would it kill them? How many people would get killed?" And he would only be satisfied if you told him that infinity people would be killed. (He was also obsessed with the concept of infinity at the time) Luckily he grew out of that phase as he'd murdered off the world several times over.

NickyW Mon 25-Nov-02 13:36:57

Thanks for all the advice - it's good to know that this is a normal growing phase - I think I have been more disturbed by this than she has!

OP’s posts: |
Azzie Mon 25-Nov-02 13:51:06

Funny, isn't it - I thought the facts of life would be the first sticky/delicate topic I faced with my kids - death as a topic for everyday conversation rather took me by surprise!

Jaybee Tue 26-Nov-02 11:19:33

I think it is a just a part of growing up and becoming a bit more aware of the world around them. When my ds was 4, his friend's Mum died of breast cancer and a neighbour (17) was killed in a car accident within weeks of each other - this, obviously prompted alot of questions and upset - he wanted to know things like where the bodies were, what had happened to the bodies to cause them to die, he seemed more upset about the neighbour and wanted to go to his funeral but, fortunately, he was at school. I did take him to the grave the next day to let him see where he was and leave some flowers. I have always been honest with my kids whatever questions they ask - whether it be sex, death or whatever and, thankfully, he seems happy to ask me anything.

triplets Tue 26-Nov-02 14:42:24

Dear NickyW,
I can really recommend a beautiful simple book to help your little one, its called Water Bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney. Its a very small paperback and costs around £1.60p. I have even sent it to adults, it is so simple but wonderful in its explanation. I usually get copies at the local Christian book shop but any one would order it for you.

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