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How do you respond when your child starts to talk about death?

(9 Posts)
rubberglove Wed 10-Oct-12 20:38:14

My ds is 6.5. Today after school he was asking me about death and was quite upset, teary.

I talked to him but I am worried that I handled it okay. I am not sure what I believe myself, about what happens after we die.

Tonight I feel a little out of sorts and upset for him.

acorntree Wed 10-Oct-12 20:49:22

He might be getting a bit old for it at 6.5, but "Badgers parting gifts" by Susan Varley is a good book for using for talking about death in a gentle way.

steppemum Wed 10-Oct-12 20:49:45

I think there are a few issues going on in their heads when they are worried about death.
They worry about you dying and them being left
They worry about what happens (can get hung up on bodies and worms)
They worry about the unknown and the what ifs?

But sometimes, what they are worrying about surprises us and isn't something on our agenda.
So one thing I would suggest is to ask him about what he thinks, what makes him sad, what is he afraid of etc. Sometimes just being given the space to talk about it is enough
I don't think you have to know any answers, but present a positive view. When these conversations come up, mine usually worry about Granny because she is 'old' We always say 'yes she is and she will die one day, but she is planning to be around for a long time. My Granny didn't die until I was quite grown up,' etc. This throws the death worry into the distant future without lying.

lisad123 Wed 10-Oct-12 20:52:28

I find honesty the best way, although her telling her teacher that if she cut herself and died it would be ok as "we would bury you in the ground and put a headstone there" was a little blush

rubberglove Wed 10-Oct-12 20:53:45

Yes he asked about me dying, granny dying, who will look after him etc. I was honest but as positive as I could be. He asked about getting buried and what happens.

It was out of the blue but I reassured him that feeling sad and scared is okay, that talking about it can help.

I did say that people believe different things and I wasn't sure.

rubberglove Wed 10-Oct-12 20:55:26

To be honest it has made me feel sad, I feel a bit teary tonight.

Portofino Wed 10-Oct-12 20:58:19

I say - some people think we go to heaven, some people think we come back as another person/animal/ some people believe we become a star in the sky. What do YOU think?

Portofino Wed 10-Oct-12 20:59:04

I say - some people think we go to heaven, some people think we come back as another person/animal/ some people believe we become a star in the sky. What do YOU think? It puts them back in control a bit....

rubberglove Wed 10-Oct-12 21:33:19

Good idea Portofino. I suppose I feel it is a slight loss of innocence, when a child realises we don't live forever. Not that I want to live forever mind!

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