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How do you discuss death with a 4 year old who seems obsessed?

(10 Posts)
oliveoil Sun 22-Jul-07 20:43:03

I am not sure how the conversatin started but she was discussing with dh and now goes on every day

not in a bad way, just lots of questions

dh's grandad is 88 and quite doddery and she keeps asking if he is going to die and if she will die and that she doesn't want mummy to die etc

not upset at all but how do you answer and word it?

(she also wants to know who makes eyeballs but I fudged through that one)

puddle Sun 22-Jul-07 20:47:45

I told ds around the same age that everyone dies eventualkly because they get old and their bodies will wear out. Eventually they stop working.

We have talked anout how people we love live on in us (eg Ds loves reading like my dad did, he has my hair and grandma's eyes) and in our hearts because we will always love them and have happy memories of them. (am not religious so this is how I have answered the 'what happens when you die' question)

My ds knows I will die at some point but often says it won't be until he is older and has a family of his own.

CaptainCaveman Sun 22-Jul-07 20:49:27

Ds (3.2) asks if something is dead the second it stops moving - eg. at the zoo the other day most of the reptiles were asleep. At each cage/tank "is it dead?"....

puddle Sun 22-Jul-07 20:53:54

Lion king is a good one to watch and talk about. All that circle of life stuff.

merrygoround Sun 22-Jul-07 20:55:48

DD, now 5, has had obsessional phases about death since she was under three, and asks loads of questions. Got a book recommended by a friend by Susan Varley (Badger;s Parting Gifts) which was quite nice, although maybe a bit too cosy. I remember being a child and being terrified of my parents dying, but being too scared to tell them in case I made THEM scared too! For that reason I try to make it clear to my DD that she can ask me anything at all about death and I will try to answer her. As long as you stick to the same story I think that is ok - for me I have to admit to her that I have no idea what happens when people die, but I do tell her that some people believe in heaven (she says she believes in heaven too).

ChasingSquirrels Sun 22-Jul-07 20:58:20

We had this with ds1 from under 3 for about a year.
For months, he would ask about death in every conversation (when he would die, when I would die, etc). He never seemed upset about it but every conversation came back to it.
I can't remember what I said, but it was probably along the lines of "the body stops working, and so we wouldn't be able to see that person any more". I also told he that it is only old people that die (ok not accurate, but I don't think an under 3 needs to know that I might not come home one day because of a fatal accident).
His great-nan died at the height of his obsession (3y4m) and I thought things would really go down hill, in fact w decided not to tell him (we didn't see her very often) and asked the inlaws not to. So MIL took it into her own hands to have an indepth discussion with him about it (I was about that, given we had specifically said not to and why).
It took a while but he got over it (and went onto other obsessions).

puddle Sun 22-Jul-07 20:58:37

Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr is also really good.

puddle Sun 22-Jul-07 20:58:37

Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr is also really good.

oliveoil Sun 22-Jul-07 20:59:58

dh told her earlier not to talk about death all the time and she said sorry so I told him off later saying that she must not feel she can't discuss it, iyswim

will have a hunt for some books I think

ChasingSquirrels Sun 22-Jul-07 21:01:49

the only time it got to me was when he said "when it is my birthday I will be 4, and then will I die mummy?"

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