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How would you have answered this question about death?

(23 Posts)
Pruners Fri 20-Jul-07 08:27:36

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beansprout Fri 20-Jul-07 08:31:11

I would.

slinkyjo Fri 20-Jul-07 08:31:58

ppl die for allsorts of reasons then try change the subject lol

harpsichordcuddler Fri 20-Jul-07 08:33:25

OK I would have said that people's bodies stop working for lots of reasons. we are kept alive by our hearts pumping blood and our brains telling our bodies to work and if either of those stop working then we die. but it onlyhappens if we are old or hurt or there is something very wrong with us
why what did you say?

chopster Fri 20-Jul-07 08:34:56

shall we go to the park after school?


awful I know, but I wouldn't answer that one unless they were very insistent about it. I think at that age distraction might be better than giving them information that they might dwell upon. My oldest two only really know about death from musuems and history, and never really ask.

I have a playdate though, who is obsessed by it, and has even aske dme when I'm going to die! He is only 4!! I think maybe he has been given too much info.

summerunderakaftan Fri 20-Jul-07 08:36:20

Hmm difficult one. Do you have any idea where the question came from?? That would make it easier as you could explain from the point of view of the death he was talking about it.

I would answer as honestly and truthfully as I could in language that he would understand.

Maybe along the lines off what slinkyjo said actually and explain that they stop breathing and their heart stops and it could be because they are very very old, very very ill or maybe in a bad scciddent and then see if he had anymore questions from there.

harpsichordcuddler Fri 20-Jul-07 08:51:42

or chopster maybe he isn't getting his questions answered at home?
ime it is normal for four year olds to be curious about death

Pruners Fri 20-Jul-07 09:25:26

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Pruners Fri 20-Jul-07 16:32:18

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meandmyflyingmachine Fri 20-Jul-07 16:34:41

My ds is convinced his gerbils will expire on their second birthday. Woe betide us if anything goes wrong in the mean time....

harpsichordcuddler Fri 20-Jul-07 18:41:32

pruners, could you just say, well why do you think a person mihgt die? and see what he suggests.
that might be a way to get to what is really troubling him
we get a lot of this at the moment, e.g. when people die and you pop them in the ground then do they get better again?
if someone had died and we really needed them, could you fix them?
&c

greensleeves Fri 20-Jul-07 18:45:53

Same as HC. Now we have long boring chicken/egg diatribes from ds1 (4.10) about which begins to function first and which is more important, the heart because it pumps blood to the brain or the brain because it tells the heart to pump. It's like listening to a 15th century medical student, but with a really high-pitched voice

I said also that usually only very old or very ill people die, and it's usually peaceful and gentle and not painful. But he does know that more violent deaths (eg car accidents) occur, and also that children can get terminal illnesses. There's just no way to keep things from him once he's interested in them, he is like a dog with a bone. But he doesn't seem frightened or worried, although we did have a shaky period when he wanted to talk A LOT about how long it would be before Mummy died and would I die before him. He seems at peace with it all now.

penguinmum Fri 20-Jul-07 18:47:38

My grandad died earlier this year. DD, 2.3, keeps asking where he is and am not sure how to answer her. Don't want to go down the heaven route as it's not something I believe in.

Porpoise Fri 20-Jul-07 18:48:50

I agree. If he's that young, you can be quite honest and he'll accept it quite matter-of-factly.
I'd just say, most people die when their bodies get old and tired and stop working properly.
Leave it at that, unless he asks for more.

rabbitrabbit Fri 20-Jul-07 18:51:59

Ds (now 4) spent about a month asking constant questions about death. "Will we all die" "will you die mummy" "why do we die" and I answered them all as best I could. I told him that anything living can die, but similar to harpis explained the 'mechanics' of it-then got lots of "will the car die" "so why did he battery die?" type of questions!
He seems perfectly ok with it all now and hasn't asked anymore questions for months; he is, though, the type of child who does not stop until he's had as much info as he needs so I don't really get much choice!

Tinkjon Fri 20-Jul-07 19:17:22

I agree with the "your body stops working" line as being the most basic answer that you need give. As for why it happens, I'd probably say "when you get very, very old", even though that's not necessarily true - I think for a kid of that age, even being 10 years old is so far away that they can't imagine, let alone nearly 100 years old. Btw, you've probably dealt with this part already, but having done some research a while back, I read that the best way to explain death was as the absence of familiar life functions eg. if a dog dies then you say it means the dog can't bark, can't chase sticks, can't run etc.
Penguinmum, I have exactly the same dilemma as you! The heaven idea is a very comforting one to a child, but as I don't believe in it I'd feel like I'm lying to my daughter. I've answered that question with a "people believe lots of different things about what happens after you die, and it will be up to you to decide what you think happens when you are older" - she seemed happy with that.

Pruners Fri 20-Jul-07 19:41:13

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HelloMama Fri 20-Jul-07 19:49:37

There is a book called 'Goodbye Mog' that we got from the library purely because we have read all the other Mog stories. But we found out whilst reading it to DS 3yrs that it was all about MOg dying. DS didn't seem that interested although asked where Mog goes when he dies so I said a lttle bit about Heaven (we're not Christians but didn't know what else to say!). Anyway, we were talking about DS's little friend X going to stay with his grandma, and DS asked where the friends grandad is (he died). So I brought up the Mog book and explained it like that. The only thing is now DS is fascinated by this and every time we see DS's little friend X, DS asks in a loud voice "Mummy, where is X's grandad?" so I have to explain the story of Mog's passing all over again. (I have pre-warned X's mum the hole I dug myself, and it isn't an issue between us thank goodness).....

Elasticwoman Fri 20-Jul-07 20:12:08

I am in favour of answering children's questions as truthfully as you can, on the grounds that if they are old enough to think of the question, they are old enough to hear the answer. And if you keep putting them off or lie to them, they may remember later and hold it against you. But it is as well to keep it simple and only go into more detail if they ask follow-up questions.

VoluptuaGoodshag Fri 20-Jul-07 20:15:37

I too am infavour of the truth but with a nice story through it. My DD 3.10 asks this and I tell her that people sometimes get sick or so old that their bits stop working.

She was asking about our neighbour who died recently and I was explaining exactly that but then she retorted "was it because she'd had too much booze?" . Hope my dear old neighbour would have laughed, and it certainly wasn't because of booze she died.

HedTwigg Fri 20-Jul-07 20:20:03

what? .. nobody's posted my sock puppet story? ..

hang on a tic

HedTwigg Fri 20-Jul-07 20:21:34

By Twiglett on Fri 21-Jul-06 20:48:17
I put a hand in a glove (well in a sock cos I couldn't find a glove)

I said to DS .. "this is you .. the glove is your body" (wiggling fingers all around), "but the hand is the bit that is really you and some people call that your soul or your spirit" (keep on wiggling)

"when you die your spirit goes on" (gently take hand out of glove and make it keep wiggling and swooping around .. tickling him works too as you gently lay the glove down on the ground)

keeping his attention on the hand swooping I said "when you die you don't need your body any more so your spirit leaves it behind" .. spirit hand keeps swooping and talk descends into tickling

Smithagain Sat 21-Jul-07 21:35:02

Twiglett, that's lovely and I am going to use it if/when the question arises. Thank you for sharing it.

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