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is it only me finding it so bl**dy hard to explain the horribleness of the world to a 5 year old

(51 Posts)
limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:12:16

Yesterday ds1 (age 5, constant questions) wanted to know why people die and don't come back and if I believed in God!! (I don't but didn't know how to say 'no there's no God and they don't come back...')

He has been picking up a lot of negative stuff from the news, seems to home in on it. He has been saying some funny/odd things, like claiming to have nearly drowned in the school pool yesterday (which I know from teacher didn't happen) and that he sat at the bottom for ages and didn't die. Poor little thing wants to be invincible sad

Makes me remember how much I couldn't understand death and the unreasonable shocks of the world when I was young. God having kids is so emotionally gutting even when they're 'being good'...

any tips on how I explain death/my disbelief in God to him?

TsarChasm Wed 10-Sep-08 12:18:03

It is awful isn't it? I think the human spirit has to believe it's invincible though, especially when you're young. It's what drives us to persevere and succeed I suppose.

I tend to keep exposure to the news pretty low key with mine atm. If they ask a difficult question all you can do is answer honestly but make them feel secure and happy within their life.

It's ok to say you don't know yourself why something has happened. I think children are often more accepting of the unexplainable than adults.

WideWebWitch Wed 10-Sep-08 12:19:57

I don't have the news on in the house partly because I can't bear it (read Timesonline and sometimes Sunday papers, Observer) and partly because I don't want my children worrying about news stories.

do you think that was the toddler nearly drowning story?

Sycamoretree Wed 10-Sep-08 12:25:10

Well, my parents (who both absolutely did not believe in god)always just said very calmly, and in an offhand way that personally they didn't believe in God, but that it was something I should make my own mind up about, and it didn't mean that they were right. My sis and I attended Sunday school as a result, off our own bat because other kids on our street did and it was more a social thing to do at a weekend really. Over that time, I pretty much decided I didn't believe in God either, but that it was probably a good idea to be tolerant of religious beliefs because they were a bunch of nice people there, and that a lot of the values were worth adhering to in life cos they made you a better person.

Does this help at all? I intend to adopt similar with my LO's. Had to deal with telling DD 3 years this year that her Grandad (my dad) had died of cancer. It was dreadful. How on earth to express he was gone and not coming back? She kept saying she wanted to go out and look for him. She was worried he was lost. She thought perhaps it was reversable...No words could cover it completely without having to be far too graphic for someone her age. I feel for you.

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:28:04

ds1 doesn't seem to take 'don't know' for an answer...

suppose I hate that moment when the little faces cloud over with worry or the sense of things they can't understand.

Yes www, he could well have picked up the drowning thing from that story.

God I will die of withdrawal if I can't have Today on in the mornings shock

SmugColditz Wed 10-Sep-08 12:28:21

I personally have told ds1 that people (and cats) who die go to heaven which is like another country a long way away and they never come back. He can never prove I am lying, there is a huge body of officialdom that believes and preaches that this does indeed happen, and I am not going to break my 5 year old's heart and tell him his cat is dead, and gone forever and is buried in the ground somewhere crawling with maggots.

What I personally believe doesn't come into it - I'm not a five year old little boy and I don't need protecting from harsh reality.

masalachameleon Wed 10-Sep-08 12:29:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PoorOldEnid Wed 10-Sep-08 12:30:12

mine dont listen to the news

they live in lovely golden rural bubble

occasionally they hear things from school and dd1 frets, but dd2 (5) worries not unless it directly threatens any precious playmobile time hmm

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:32:21

oh noooo you are all right, I just have to turn the news off shock

I would swear though that he picks up stuff from all over, even news breaks when the nanny has Radio 1 on in the car. He seems to have radar for the Big Questions.

Yeah I clearly do need to protect him more from harsh reality- I didn't actually say that people never came back, just that sometimes people got all or old or bad things happened to them and they died but that mummy and daddy were here for him and he mustn' worry about all that etc etc [ ineffectual mother emoticon ]

HonoriaGlossop Wed 10-Sep-08 12:32:57

Yes I agree the news is too much for a five year old. I think something like Newsround on CBBC is fine, it's there for kids and very appropriately and sensitively done - adult news is too much. It's also not a good picture to give them of the world; it's sensationalist and only shows the most dramatic and worst parts of the world.

I think edit exposure. There's enough to be dealing with at 5 IMO, they don't need the weight of the world on their shoulders. I watch news at ten to catch up when ds in bed.

Exposure to news is a different thing to not being open or telling a child the truth. They can still hear the truth about important matters, eg people do die - they don't need to hear daily details about who has died and in what horrible way IMO!

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:33:06

serious Radio 4 withdrawal will be going on in this house. Wonder if I can get dh to ever turn it off when he is in...

OrmIrian Wed 10-Sep-08 12:34:02

But the world isn't horrible. It's bloody wonderful. And that is what you have to emphasise. Yes bad things happen but the reason they seem bad is because everything else is good.

Death is something that all of mine wrestled with. I explained as best I could and we had a day or so of clinginess and tears, but in the end they assimilated it.

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:35:01

I would love mine to live in a golden rural bubble Enid. That is surely ideal. Mine live in unlovely SE London. There are of course good things about it, but Blyton style happiness such as (in spite of my cynicism) I want for my boys is far harder to maintain sad

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:36:05

Yes Orm, vg point, I do try to emphasise that.

ds1 has a particularly strong fascination with gore, blood, death, etc which I do try to fight but then when he hits on the big questions, it stumps me.

PoorOldEnid Wed 10-Sep-08 12:37:57

dh v matter of fact about death and tells them that it is a part of life

all a great big happy circle

Sycamoretree Wed 10-Sep-08 12:38:00

Hmmm - the only thing with some of these suggestions, especially the idea that they are some how "around" but not physically, can lead to anxiety in smaller children that they are being watched in some way, or make them scared. I'm just relaying the advice we got from MacMillan for our family when my dad was dying. If you're religious yourself, I guess that's different, and though I appreciate what Colditz is saying, I wouldn't want to have to undo everthing I had said when my 11 year old starts to question the whole thing of a country far away etc.

It's hard - I didn't have to deal with it myself until I was 8 when my granddad died - but I only know that I remember knowing exactly what that meant, but having a childs own notion and imagination that she would be looking over me - not something my parents encouraged me to believe, but something I had just decided upon myself. And even now, I can find myself believing he is looking over me - and I don't particularly feel that about my own father. So it goes to show how strong those risidual childhood beliefs are.

PoorOldEnid Wed 10-Sep-08 12:38:46

I dont listen to the news in front of them and turn it off in the car
dont get a newspaper
dont get celeb mags

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:40:01

Enid's dh's image may be a good one to start with.

Agree Sycamore, it's a delicate balance. I can see ds1, who is a very literal/lateral thinker (as far as I can tell for a 5yo), expecting his great grandad to turn up in his bedroom etc....

SmugColditz Wed 10-Sep-08 12:40:04

You don't have to undo it. Present it not as a country, but as a 'place'. The bible backs you up on this one.

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:40:46

oh gawd no, celeb mags banned from my sight permanently anyway

Should start another thread on who actually reads them and why on earth

PoorOldEnid Wed 10-Sep-08 12:45:11

I have three dds, two of whom can read, I dont want them to read about nicole richies skinny arse

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:46:47

Absolutely. My nanny has left a couple lying around. The sheer level of ghastly false personal speculation and non-news-value sent me into a flat grumpr-old-woman spin tbh. And as you say, possibly even worse for young girls with all the obsessive focus on weight...

PoorOldEnid Wed 10-Sep-08 12:48:57


I was bored at work this morning so I logged onto the daily mail site blush

for the first timeever just to read some mindless gossip

I read something about a paedophile that literally made me shake it was so horrible

why on EARTH do people have to read thes things? no wonder we are a nation of mentalists

limecrush Wed 10-Sep-08 12:54:04

yeah I know - but do block the daily mail site, it is bound to be poison

Someone I met the other day said that one of the worst things about the modern world is that there is always someone somewhere doing something utterly vile and plenty of people eager to report it...

WideWebWitch Wed 10-Sep-08 12:54:34

Agree enid, I can't bear all that prurient stuff. Mine pretty much live in a golden rural bubble too wrt the news. Ds asked the other day if they'd found Madeleine yet and I said no and left it at that. If he'd have wanted to discuss it I would have done but I'm glad he has no idea about some of the awful stuff that goes on in the world.

If you must listen to Today can you geta nano and headphones and listen to it on that (I gave up Today when I had ds, couldn't cope with the horribleness of the news, am total wuss)

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