My child is obsessed with death.. Help?

Brandie - posted on 03/05/2013 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My 3 year old (she will be 4 in July) has all of the sudden started becoming obsessed with death. While playing she is always saying that one of her barbies or toy ponies is dead, or asks me questions about death. While driving home from school and work the other day, she looked out the window and saw a deer on the side of the road (it was fully alive and well) and she says, "Mommy, we need to shoot that deer so it can be dead." Now, we live in Northern Minnesota, and deer hunting is extremely popular, and I myself have gone out and brought the meat home (not the full dear for her to see), but this is getting a little worrisome. She's a beautiful child, and has not hurt herself or any other child at daycare, or my friends' children. I am just wondering if this is a normal thing for children to go through. I do not lie to my child when we see a dead animal on the side of the road, I tell her what it is. And when I recently lost two of my uncles, a day apart from each other I told her that they had both gone to live with God, but that someday we'd see them again. I do not however focus everything around death, and the only channel on the tv is Disney JR and she only watched Disney movies in her room.. I am not sure where this is coming from at all. At first, I wondered if her dad has something to do with it, as he has the same kind of obsession with death, only his is a little scarier, but he has had no contact with her for about 6 months now.. Is there anyway this could have been carried over? Since she just recently started talking about it? I am completely at a loss, and have no idea if this is something that is normal.. Please help?

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Lisa - posted on 03/15/2013

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I completely understand how disturbing it can be. When it comes to animals (which he knows we eat), I told him that we only wanted the ones we needed to eat to die because if more died, there would be a lot of food that would go bad and there wouldn't be enough animals to make babies that we could eat when they got bigger. When it comes to people (and play dying), I told him that we didn't want anyone to die because dying is forever and the person's body won't ever work again. I also explained to him that people only die when they get really old or really sick (but not like cold or tummy sick, REALLY REALLY sick) to remove fear that it would happen to him or his immediate family. He has never shown any fear about death from accidents or people killing other people so I purposely left that part out. He also knows that my dad died before he could meet him and I constantly have to emphasize that my dad loved me as much as his daddy loves him. Honestly that has been the hardest to explain (death doesn't end or eliminate love).

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Ashley - posted on 04/08/2013

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My daughter was 3 when one of her great uncles died. She became obsessed with it too. It's completely normal. Your child is just working through understanding death. They are trying to understand what it means to you, to the world, and to them...

Cari - posted on 03/11/2013

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I'm not sure if it's completely normal or not but i know my almost 4 yr old (birthday is end of June) talks about death fairly frequently too. I think it all started for her when daddy started going hunting last year. She also has heard about death in church (Jesus died on the cross) and when asking why i don't have grand parents, b/c they died before i was born. I never realized how much "death"a child could be exposed to at this age without actually losing someone close to them. I think it's great that you don't lite to her though! A lot of parents think that a "cute story"is more appropriate for a child but i strongly believe that an AGE APPROPRIATE version if the truth is much more effective in the long run! I think that children are naturally very curious especially at this age, they are really starting to figure things out about real life now and they have a lot of questions about it. If we can give them an honest simple answer now it will lay the ground work for an open honest relationship in the future. It didn't hurt to ask her straight up about why she is always asking about death, it could be that she is scared about dying herself or maybeover something back when your uncles died and it confused her. I think it is just a phase on the long road of growing up.

Brandie - posted on 03/05/2013

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Thank you both very much!! It is very good to know it is normal! And thank you for the advice :) It is very appreciated!

Stephanie - posted on 03/05/2013

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This is completely normal. Death is mysterious; kids (and even most adults) don't fully understand the how and why that surrounds death. So naturally, a lot of kids get fixated on it wondering what happens when someone dies etc. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Keep being as open and honest as you (age appropriately) can be. The fact that you recently lost two uncles, could also be on her mind, wondering exactly where the were (a lot of kids that young don't fully understand the concept of 'living with God'). She's been exposed to deer hunting (she may not see the dear, but I'm sure she knows you had to kill it to eat it) so that could explain her "kill the deer" comment. I think you're probably doing a good job and I wouldn't worry too much about it...sometimes kids fixate on stuff, especially because of how curious they can be! Then move on to another topic. If she's a relatively happy girl I don't think you have too much to worry about. :)

Julieth - posted on 03/05/2013

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:) I wouldn't worry too much, it is normal for a child that age to be interested in death specially after the lose of a love one, in this case your uncles. When my daughter soon to be 4 lost her grandfather last year She started to act just like your daughter, She talk about everything and everyone being death or dying eg. if She saw on T.V a little girl in bed getting ready to sleep or when driving She told me many times how if the car fell on a slope we were going to die! It was very upsetting!.

Just talk to her and explain that not everything its about death and how She should focus in life instead and just do not focus in the topic if She continue to talk about it just listen but then change the topic to something you know She would be interested on. It worked for me.

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