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Help I think I have terrified my 4-year-old dd talking to her about death. How do you do this????

(7 Posts)
claraquack Tue 10-Nov-09 15:44:55

We have a goldfish called Findlay who I fear isn't very well and might die soon (for full story see my thread in the pets section). Dd1 (just turned 4) is obsessed with death and what it means and so I explained to her that Findlay might die, that no he wouldn't wake up and we would probably have to bury him in the back garden.

She burst into tears and was so upset I had to find a way to quickly change the subject. She is quite a sensitive child and now I fear that she is going to really start worrying about death and soon work out that we and even she will all die one day.

How have others dealt with this really difficult subject? No-one close to us has died in her life time so we have never had to tackle the subject full on. We have no religious beliefs so although I don't mind telling her "some people believe...." I wouldn't be comfortable telling her as fact that there is anything after death.

MadameDefarge Wed 11-Nov-09 15:33:50

My ds had this mind-blowing realisation on the toilet one night after being lifted for a wee., at about four too.

He was inconsolable " I don't want you to die Mummy!, I don't want to die" all while sitting with his pjs round his ankles. made hugging him rather awkward!

I told him that he was not to worry about it at all because it was a really really long time away, probably about 100 years away.. which seemed to calm him down. I was also quite chirpy about it. which maybe helped.

claraquack Wed 11-Nov-09 15:42:36

Thank you for answering - I was beginning to think I must be the only one with this problem. I also fell into the "it's a long way away, don't worry about it" trap, but she is very worried about the goldfish and keeps asking me every day why fish don't live very long.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 11-Nov-09 15:56:43

Oh dear. We bought some goldfish when DD was 2 partly because we'd heard that its a good idea for a child to experience the death of a small animal before elderly relatives, beloved dogs etc.

Perhaps because she was younger when one of the poor things obligingly died, she took it matter-of-factly; we buried it under the honeysuckle and explained how its body became food for the beautiful flowers.

Mooncupflowethover Wed 11-Nov-09 20:55:17

My cousin had saved up his pocket money (only 20p a week) and had bought a goldfish with it, he was only 5.

2 weeks later it died. My uncle explained to him very gently that it had died and what being dead meant. After his moving speech my cousin said (very indignantly)'That cost me £2.50 that did!!', and stormed off.

No practical advice to off you I'm afraid, just thought I'd share that!

queenofdenial2009 Wed 11-Nov-09 20:56:49

Maybe DD (4.5 and I are a bit strange but we talk about death all the time and her obsession with the subject has been commented on by others.

I think it's because she knows I had a baby boy born before her who died and we've always been very upfront about it. Also I work in the NHS and was in A&E for much of her life so talked about stuff that happened during the day.

She sees death as part of life. I'm also quite Buddhist in my leanings and talk about everything coming and going and how we all die but come back in another form. We talk about cycles in nature such as leaves falling from trees, how veg peelings turn into compost and then help more veg grow in the ground. God, I sound like such an old hippy, I'm really not.

On Monday I was taking her to school when there was a full-on accident as a cyclist did a full 360 over a car's windscreen and broke his leg. She was really good as I managed the scene and did first aid etc. and loved it when the ambulance turned up and I helped him get in.

I guess it's about how you present it to a certain extent.

claraquack Thu 12-Nov-09 13:40:54

Mooncup - ha ha, I wish my dd was a bit more like that, practical rather than so sensitive!

Queenofdenial - I envy you your buddhist-type beliefs, but if you don't believe you don't believe. However I like the "circle of life" idea and might use that if necessary. (hmmm, wasn't that a song in Lionking? Maybe I need to get that out for her. Or perhaps Bambi, I am sure that's how we all learned about death when I was a child).

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