Spinoff from gun thread... not debate

[deleted account] ( 8 moms have responded )

How do you help a 2-3 year old 'get' death? My son sometimes 'cuts' your head off (no clue where he got that one), shoots you, or plays dead. I try to explain to him that we don't do that kind of thing since dead is forever, but it doesn't help. I'm pretty sure it's just cuz he has no actual concept of death, but how do you teach that (no pets or dying relatives to go off of) or at least get him to understand on some level that playing like that really isn't ok?


View replies by

Nicole - posted on 01/05/2011




I'm so sorry for the loss:( I can't imagine anything harder than the loss of a child.

I don't think many kids can understand death, and losing a pet isn't anywhere near the same magnitude as losing a loved one.

I remember when my dad died I was convinced he'd gone up to heaven, that god would fix him and send him back down when he was done. I couldn't understand why my mom was sad, but I felt determined to cheer her up, then guilty for not being able to do so.

I don't think it's necessary for children to really understand the concept of death. I wouldn't want to rob them of their innocence too early.

Jenn - posted on 01/05/2011




I don't really say a whole lot about it, I think it's just play. But I do think understanding what death is, is important as it is a part of life. A friend of mine lost her 8 year old son yesterday. :( When I read the news I burst into tears, so when my son asked what was wrong I told him. I tried to explain that it's like if his sister was gone and he could never see her again. I don't think he totally understands because I'm not sure that at that age you fully grasp the concept of "never".

*edited because I called him "her". LMAO! OCD! OCD!

[deleted account]

Yeah, he's certainly not doing it to be mean or anything. He thinks he's being funny..... NO pets are allowed here and I don't want to risk getting in trouble.... even w/ a fish... and ending up w/ no where to live.

Books might be a good idea...

JuLeah - posted on 01/05/2011




Through play, he trying to understand. Get him a fish :)
Death can be frightening, he is wanting to understand and this play is his method. Get kid books and talk about death maybe. Kid this age play super hero, they shoot each other, they 'fight' stab, throw each other around .... it is normal, just teach him how to be safe and respectful while in play.

Kylie - posted on 01/05/2011




I think having fish and birds that have died has helped my children understand death. I've let them examine the dead pets and help to bury them and say good bye. I've never had any issues with them talking about killing or pretend to shoot anyone/anything dead.

Stifler's - posted on 01/05/2011




I'm not really sure about younger kids. My uncle was an undertaker so death was always known in our family. When I was about 8 or something we all got to go on a tour of the funeral home and see dead bodies and coffins and embalming fluid and transfer vehicles. I think I am still scared of death.

[deleted account]

I told my son that when he "killed" someone/something he could never, ever play with it again. Like if he broke a favorite toy, it was gone forever (It did not take long for one of his toys to actually "die" and I talked about it when we threw the toy away).

That did not stop the play shooting or play cutting, but he would say, "I just injured it." or "You be alright." Which, I guess is better, but I still didn't like it. So we made a rule that he could only "fight" with monsters and aliens--No Animals, No People. That forced him to use his imagination more and cut down a lot on the "killing"

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms