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Son is suddenly worried about dying - he's 5.

(11 Posts)
Jofo Sun 31-May-09 20:39:17

Put my 5 year old DS down to bed in the usual way and 20 minutes later heard him crying hysterically. Shot upstairs to see what had happened and he was sobbing that he didn't want to die soon. Am totally shocked as have no idea where this has come from and would appreciate some advice on how to deal with this. Any books that could help if this is going to be an ongoing thing for instance?

monkeytrousers Sun 31-May-09 20:43:10

There are books. Bumping for you as others will be able to recommend them.

Other than that I think it's normal at this age too. My 4.6 year old is asking where my dad and DP's dad is - just the first coming to grips with mortality, bless 'em.

Nappyzoneisabeetrootrunner Sun 31-May-09 20:43:36

someone willl come along with something more useful im sure but my dd was the same at 4 or 5 - i always tell her she shouldnt worry about this as v young then told her we all die and when you do there is nothing to worry abotu as all your friends are family are waiting for you and its like a big part inthe sky (dependant upon your beliefs obviously) - i also tried not to make it sound too good thuogh iyswim! Someon e is famous for doing a sock puppet thingy on here which i did refer to about the sock being body but even when hand removed (eg the soul) the soul lives on even if the sock (the body) is redundant. sorry i rambled there.......

I over heard my dd and 2 of her friends inthe playhouse discussing it which is where im sure she got all upset from....

Nappyzoneisabeetrootrunner Sun 31-May-09 20:44:46

sorry about my crappy spelling and typing also blush

monkeytrousers Sun 31-May-09 20:45:17

I just talk to DS about it - or rather, let him talk and listen without offering much up in advice. It helps them work it out - them talking - you listening. It is part of being human

monkeytrousers Sun 31-May-09 20:47:33

There is a moment in The Iron Giant film where they discuss this briefly. Its a cartoon and you can ususally pick it up for a pound or so in charity shops. V good too - an early film from the director of The Incredibles and based on Ted Hughes book.

muffle Sun 31-May-09 20:54:30

I tell my DS (almost 4) that yes people do worry about it sometimes, but that's why we have to cross the road carefully and try to eat healthy food etc, to look after our bodies and make sure we live a long time... and then when you're very old, you get tired and worn out and ready to die and it's like a lovely rest.

Of course that's not the whole truth because it doesn't always work that way... and tbh as I'm a terrible worrier I haven't really got over this myself. But I think the feeling that there are things you can do to help look after yourself helps young children as it makes them feel less powerless.

muffle Sun 31-May-09 20:58:09

Also agree that they have to talk it through - DS often just pipes up "why do snails die?" "how do dinosaurs die?" etc. and just wants to go over it and explain it back to me. I think I'm actually less upset by it all now, than when I was worrying about what I would say when this happened - because it's very matter-of-fact and open and DS just wants to know about it, and I can help with that IYSWIM.

Jofo Sun 31-May-09 21:00:31

I asked him why he was thinking about it at all and he didn't want to talk but was perfectly happy to let me rattle on (and on) about all the old people we know. Even worked out how many days he could live, Suitably high number to capture his imagination. Hopefully this is a one-off but will try to get the film recommended by Monkeyt - thanks to all for advice.

Scrumplet Sun 31-May-09 22:29:53

DS (nearly five) is doing the same at the moment. He made himself sick with upset a few weeks ago - worrying about him and me dying. He nearly threw up again the other night, talking about this same thing, but we contained it.

I heard once that four-ish is the age where significant fear kicks in. Don't know if there's any truth in it? It would explain DS's recent fear of dying, as well as monsters in the bathroom which I have to shoot before he'll go in there. hmm

I do the same as muffle. We talk about death being normal and natural, like a big sleep, and all being well, a very long time away. We talk about DS being young and healthy, and the things he can do that can help him have a long, happy life. We talk about the circle of life - he gets the whole gardening and composting thing, and sees me get so excited about the lovely compost we make. <proud emoticon> He likes walking through the village churchyard, and asks me to tell him the names of the people on the grave stones. So intellectually, I think he gets it. It's just that, emotionally, he isn't mature enough to take it in his stride yet.

Lots of listening, gentle discussing and reassurance helps. And time.

piscesmoon Sun 31-May-09 22:46:55

It is the age that they are very interested in the subject and it is a taboo subject-not something that people want to talk about or face. When my DH died it was 5 yr olds who wanted to ask me lots of questions and it was their parents who were embarrassed and tried to get them to change the subject. I think that Scrumplet has the right approach with it being a normal part of the circle of life-stressing that it normally happens when very old and the body is tired and worn out.
Don't change the subject or cut them off but let them ask questions and talk.

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