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Talking to teens about (imminent) death?

(21 Posts)
RomeoC Sun 15-Jun-14 08:09:45

We've talked a few times about potential death & DD hasn't really responded positively

Now her beloved Grandad is dying & she will be told today; he doesn't look or act dramatically ill & he may have months (possibly bordering on years but also possibly not)

She is 16 and about to strike out in the world on her own, her first (summer) job, college etc

We need to manage it well; we are scared of failing - does anyone have any suggestions?

ChaosK Sun 15-Jun-14 08:26:06

We had to do this last year when MiL was given 6 weeks to live. We sat the 2 x DS (16 and 13) down and were honest, factual and understanding. We told them that it was and would be a sad time and that we would all be in it together. It was a dreadful family conversation but had to be done. DSs were very upset - but able to speak about it openly in the following weeks. We also ensured that we saw MiL as much as possible. She did die as expected. The DSs are still grieving - DH is so sad.
Honesty and appropriate information is what is needed - it worked for us. Good luck - and I'm sorry you are having to go through this.

trice Sun 15-Jun-14 08:54:13

So sorry you are having to go though this. I agree that it is important to be extremely honest with teenagers. Keep it simple and give her time to process. Good luck.

ajandjjmum Sun 15-Jun-14 08:56:46

You must have been dreading this day Romeo - I've just read your other thread.sad

I can't really offer any advice, but think it might be a good thing that your DD has lots on, as she won't be able to 'dwell' on the dreadful news, as she'll be so busy.

RomeoC Sun 15-Jun-14 09:09:41

My dad is telling her

He will be honest - probably funny but honest

He has laughingly said he wants a cardboard box as the wood they make coffins out of would be better used to make boats! He's very pragmatic & says he has done everything he wanted to

I worry that she will go off the rails or something

StealthPolarBear Sun 15-Jun-14 09:10:47

Very sorry you are going through this x

WolfMoon Sun 15-Jun-14 17:40:02

Thinking of you and your DD, RomeoC. So sorry that this is happening to you all.

RomeoC Sun 15-Jun-14 18:13:53

Thanks guys

It's been very stressy but she has been told

Mintyy Sun 15-Jun-14 18:18:57

Ah, I see I'm too late to say I would wait until he is actually nearly at the end of his life before telling her.

I told my dc that Grandpa wasn't going to get better about 2 weeks before he died, although I knew his illness was terminal for several months before that.

RomeoC Sun 15-Jun-14 18:24:32

He is getting visibly worse on a day by day basis

Mintyy Sun 15-Jun-14 18:37:50

I'm so sorry.

KatyMac Sun 15-Jun-14 19:34:32

Thanks everyone - & now DD knows I can talk openly about it

She thinks I'm very clever keeping it from her until her exams finished & she didn't suspect anything

She wants to know how I hid 'feeling sad' - I said I had good friends who supported me in real life and on-line

I posted the same of the other thread too - you can see with her leaving home in September how concerned I have been (& will continue to be) about her mental health during this time of high stress

NorthWards Sun 15-Jun-14 19:34:36

I wish I could give more advice. In my experience different teenagers will deal with it differently, all three of my DSs grieved differently when family members very close to them have passed away. I think it is important make sure you let her grieve in her own way.

You are doing the right thing in telling her early, and therefore allowing time to prepare and make memories.

KatyMac Sun 15-Jun-14 19:36:57

She has said she will work harder and make him prouder; but we said he was already as proud as he can be

KatyMac Mon 16-Jun-14 09:01:40

I was half expecting a breakdown over night but apart from a few tears at bedtime she has been OK

It's early days tho'

KatyMac Mon 16-Jun-14 18:30:39

I think my difficulty is going to be balancing her upset with my need to control/discipline her

Not that I do it all the time as she is quite good but I do need to keep a basic level of respect & compliance while this is going on

& I keep wanting to make allowances

StealthPolarBear Mon 16-Jun-14 19:01:13

Sorry this is you sad
I think you need to be kind to yourself and do what maksslife easier. Apologies if im being nosey but you dont have any majotr concerns over yiur dds behaviour do you?

KatyMac Mon 16-Jun-14 20:21:24


Not really - she is a bit type A (like my dad) - so I worry about burn out & over training and recently we have been chatting about weight & with dancers that is a big cloud that hangs over them. Plus she is moving out in September which is scary

KatyMac Tue 17-Jun-14 16:49:30

She's had total melt-down at a friend's house

The friend's mum knows & is looking after her; neither want me to go & get her

I feel so useless

ajandjjmum Tue 17-Jun-14 17:48:08

She probably doesn't want to burden you, knowing that you too are very upset. Nice that she's got someone slightly more distant that she can turn to.

Take care of yourself!

KatyMac Tue 17-Jun-14 18:17:24

I told her that I'd been upset about an hour before & that it was the 'inbetween' times that matters

She asked about the 'inbetween' times and what I did then & I said everything else as normal - the upsets were just extra and needed to be fitted in so we could carry on with the "everything else" as normal

It's right to be upset & it's right to carry on as normal (for me) but that if she wanted to do it differently we could work on a system for her

I hope it helped

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