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Talking to children about death

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RF Lighting, 23 Jul 2013.

  1. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

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    I don't really know who to talk to about this subject, so thought I'd ask some of my exteneded family for advice if you don't mind.

    I have two nephews aged 3½ and 6½. Their grandad is gravely ill, and we have been told to prepare for the worst. The boys have been told that grandad is very poorly.

    I'm very close to my nephews and they like to ask a lot of questions, as I'm sure all kids do.

    I have no intention to bring the subject up with the boys, but if they bring it up with me, I want to be forearmed so I don't say something daft, and cause unnecassary upset, but on the other hand I don't want to patronise them either, especially the oldest boy.

    Has anyone had to go through this before, and if so how did you deal with it?
     
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  3. Never had to do it myself, so I definitely don't want to come across as patronising, my immediate thoughts however, were to perhaps book a session with a bereavement councillor (not that I am wishing anyone's demise in anyway) certainly may help in more ways than one. Just a thought, my non religious prayers are with you at this obviously difficult time.
     
  4. joe-90

    joe-90

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    Tell them to talk to their parents. Then you can't put your foot in it.
     
  5. Dextraneous

    Dextraneous

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    When my son had his great grandmother (my wife's side) die, he asked "does that mean she's shut the door?". To this day I find it difficult to find a better way of putting it as it leaves all possible interpretations open.
     
  6. securespark

    securespark

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  7. sooey

    sooey

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    I agree with joe, it's for the parents to tell them, however they think best.
    They'll be sad for a moment, 5 minutes later they'll be playing as normal.
     
  8. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    My 4 year old boy and his 7 year old cousin have just lost their grandmother (age 66 (my mother in law)) and honesty is the best policy, explain that they are no longer hurting anymore and have gone to heaven (even if you don't believe (I don't) and they are now with their spouses or whoever, there's no need to flower things up too much, kids that age do know about death, they will have picked up the gist of the concept of death through school mates, their parents, the media etc. It turns out all those times we jokingly said that toy car has died and has gone to car heaven or you really probably ought not to step on that bug because it will die was pretty useful. :p

    The fact is we were dreading telling our boy a whole lot more then we had need to, kids that age are actually incredibly resilient. Also, and this rings true to whoever I have asked about it and there has been quite a few, take some comfort in that kids that age are unlikely to ever remember anything about these events, do you remember losing various relatives when you were those ages? I don't and know others didn't.
     
  9. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

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    I'm not planning on breaking the news to them or even bringing up the subject or anything like that, but if one of the boys wants to talk me about something then I might have a bit more of an idea what's right and wrong to say.

    Thanks Simon, that's a helpful read.
     
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  11. securespark

    securespark

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    No worries!
     
  12. jockscott

    jockscott

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    I think all you can do is , be for them, should they feel the need to talk to an adult about death. I'm sure this is one of the reasons we have pets,, they don;t live as long as us humans, so kids get used to the idea of mortality. I'm sure at their tender ages, they're more resilient, than you perhaps give them credit for. ;) ;)
     
  13. ellal

    ellal

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    Whoever does it, never ever say a dead person has 'gone to sleep'!
     
  14. kbdiy

    kbdiy

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    The news must come from the parents in the first instance, no matter how close you or anyone else may be. From then on you can only play it by ear. Kids are remarkably more resilient than a lot of people give them credit for.
     
  15. big-all

    big-all

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    yep i fully agree
    never use a term that happens in "normal " day to day life as they may associate that with dying

    and as said kids soon move on far far quicker than adults as they havent fully formed the depth off there emotional side
     
  16. Norcon

    Norcon

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    If they're wee atheists just show them the " you're dead" scene from Papillion. :LOL:
     
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