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how do I deal with this??

(27 Posts)
sparklymieow Tue 03-May-05 21:46:41

Today we were told a local girl who was 5 years old has died after choking on her school dinner. DS' school talked about in assembly and class today and sent a letter home. Now DS kept crying and is very upset by it, and he had a dream about her. How can I deal with this, he is 7. Quite annoyed iwth the school because I feel they should have informed the parents before talking about this with the children.

Louise1980 Tue 03-May-05 21:49:10

Thats a tough one. I really dont have much advice but I agree that the school should have told you first.

Could you try explaining that everyone dies sometime and that tragic accidents like this happen? Just be ready for more tears and questions.

sparklymieow Tue 03-May-05 21:50:53

I think a lot of it is because his sister is nearly 5, and he is scared.... especially as she used to choke on her food when she was younger.

aloha Tue 03-May-05 21:52:49

I'm really shocked that the school made a big issue of this with small children. WHY??? I'd complain, I really would.

aloha Tue 03-May-05 21:54:18

Maybe you could say very firmly, that this isn't going to happen to him or his sister and that the little girl had something wrong with her and because they don't have something wrong with them, it won't happen. Promise them they won't die.

Louise1980 Tue 03-May-05 21:54:19

Thats not good. U should sit him down alone and explain that he was fine and about accidents etc, imo anyway.

sparklymieow Tue 03-May-05 21:54:24

the little girl didn't even go to Ds' school, she went to a local school. TBH, a letter home would have been enough and then we could have decided whether to tell them or not.

Whizzz Tue 03-May-05 22:02:55

It is tragic Sparklymieow - I would try & reassure him that these things do sometimes happen (like other accidents do) but not very often and if you are careful - you will be safe.
Agree school should have told parents via a letter though.

sparklymieow Tue 03-May-05 22:15:10

its is tragic and me and Dh both feel for the parents of the little girl and it makes you think when it is so close to home, but the school shouldn't have mentioned it to the children. I didn't even tell the kids that a girl in a nearby school had choked (didn't know she had died till after school) because I don't want them scared.
And I know that Dd1 will think that if she eats she might die, because of her previous problems with choking....

aloha Tue 03-May-05 22:17:09

Does she really, really trust you/believe everything you say? If you said, "I absolutely promise that you will not die" would that help? Also maybe just plain lie and say that the girl had something wrong with her mouth/throat and that's the real reason she choked? I'd say anything personally, even deny that it happened at all.

sparklymieow Tue 03-May-05 22:30:42

Talking to Dd1 will be easy she doesn't fully understand death anyway, but Ds is harder because he is older and understands more than he lets on. I will be going into the school tomorrow to discuss this with the head as I think he didn't handle this well TBH.

dolally Tue 03-May-05 22:53:48

Totally agree that it was stupid to force this tragedy on seven year olds, who cannot possibly make sense of it, or even learn something from it. How irresponsible of the school. Children should be protected not have this kind of thing stuffed into their faces on the grounds of some stupid psychobabbling... what on earth did the school think they were achieving, I would be furious. Of course they should have sent a letter home and given the parents the choice of whether to tell the kids. Hope you'll let us know what the school says in response to your complaint.

hub2dee Tue 03-May-05 22:55:26

Might be more useful for the school to organise save-a-life first aid course for the kids by the sound of it.

sparklymieow Tue 03-May-05 22:55:56

from what I could work out there was a school assembly this morning so they told everyone, from little 4 years old to 11 years old.

Marina Tue 03-May-05 23:45:11

Thr only children who needed to be told anything about this tragic death were the ones at her own school. I think the Head was wrong to do this, mieow.
If she is local and it is likely to crop up in playground conversations (largely thanks to the Head's obtuseness ) I don't think denying it happened, or altering the details of the child's circumstances, is going to help a 7 year old. It could just get him into distressing arguments with other children in his year or older.
I think Louise has the right idea, Mieow. Encoourage him to think of how many children there are in his school and how many schools in your town...and then county. And then ask him how often he has heard of something awful like this happening...statistical probability is the way to go on this. We find it works well with ds when these issues crop up.
And I would complain to the Head, and take it up with the class teacher. How very distressing for you all at a worrying time for your family anyway

mears Tue 03-May-05 23:49:39

Do you think the children were told because it was in the national press?

sparklymieow Tue 03-May-05 23:51:11

Marina I think you have confused me with my sister Misdee... Ds knows about his uncle being in hospital and he is waiting for a new heart, but thats it. I don't shy away from the subject of death, have had two friend's lose their child, a neighbour died last year, and when te Tsumami happened I explained what had happened to DS. I have been honest with him in the past but I think in this situation, the parents should have had a choice whether to tell the children what had happened. DS came out of school and told me that there was a letter in his bag and it was very sad, so he must have read it too(very good at reading)

sparklymieow Tue 03-May-05 23:53:11

I have heard it was in the national press but haven't sen it myself. I tend to not tell my children everything that is going on in the world, and don't watch the news, as I think some things they need protecting from and not to be scared of everything IYKWIM.

sparklymieow Wed 04-May-05 09:38:21

been to see the head this morning and asked why he found it nessary to tell the children about this and he said that there was a lot of rumours and children scared to eat at school so they had to address the problem. the assembly was\about the kids fears. He said that because the little girl was from the only RC school in the area, there are children who live in the area that go to that school, and there is also children in that area that go to his school and children from both schools had been talking and getting the facts wrong.

sparklymieow Wed 04-May-05 09:39:24

so because the media had picked up on it and had misquoted a lot of the facts they needed to set the record straight.

Marina Wed 04-May-05 09:42:04

Sorry, Mieow, some confusion there I think
Of course I know it is Misdee's dh who is ill, not yours - wasn't sure how much your ds knew about Peter's illness.
I was actually trying to agree with you that the Head handled this wrongly. Further down the thread Aloha suggested lying to your ds and saying the story wasn't true, or changing the story in some way, in the interests of making him less sad about this news. I should have made it clearer that although Aloha has lots of great advice usually , this time I disagree with her...as you will know, you cannot hide the sad side of life from school-age children, especially ones that are early and good readers.
We have had to deal with a child anxious about death after a bereavement, so my suggestion of trying to explain to your ds that sometimes sad things happen, but usually they don't, was based on what worked for our son.
I'm sorry if I upset you.

sparklymieow Wed 04-May-05 09:47:05

oh no, you didn't upset me, sorry if it came across that way, I actually thought you had a very good idea, and will properally use that example. And I just thought you had confused me and Misdee (many people do)

Marina Wed 04-May-05 09:56:59

As if ! Glad about that Mieow

sparklymieow Wed 04-May-05 09:58:16

Good, glad we just misunderstood each other..

FLUM Wed 04-May-05 10:01:41

I think it is good for children to learn about death and that it can come at any time. Death is very over clinicalised in our society. We are so protected from it - we don't even want to know about it. I think it is an important lesson and one that children of all ages can cope with. School is for teaching and that is what they have done.

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