My 4 1/2 year old is talking about death and not sure how to address it....??

Monica - posted on 09/22/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )




So my 4 1/2 year old brings up the death/dying conversation very often. She even starts to cry about it, and not wanting to grow up so she doesn't die. her tears in this case are sincere, and I don't want to completely not respond to her fear. Her dad has also told her if she becomes a doctor she will live forever. i understand you must have age appropriate conversations but I am also one not to tell complete lies to avoid a conversation about deeper matters like death.

I do not know how to respond to her to make her feel better and comforted. I have tried several approaches which all seem to upset her even more.

have any of you been through this with someone so young and without the understanding/comprehension of an issue this large... if so, i would like to hear what worked or didn't in your case. Thanks


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Babycakes3285 - posted on 02/21/2014




my boy has been talking about gost death an barrying me in the cemitary im not sure what to do he is now almost 5 an he talks to his uncle shane who passed away 8-9 years a go same with his cousin jared they passed before he was born if anyone can give tell me how do deal with this I would like it very much thanks

Laura - posted on 09/22/2009




I think it's pretty normal. DD makes comments about not wanting to die. Her granny passed away last year, our cat had to be put down, and one of her fishes died recently. We've talked to her about how she is young and what we believe happens after death. She got a little too excited about heaven, so I had to explain that we wanted her here for a while.

I'd just keep reassuring her and let her talk it through.

Socorro - posted on 09/22/2009




Know what, I can vividly remember myself having done the same, I mean, myself like your child. I guess, it just comes naturally to a child. It will come to pass, just comfort her and explain about how young she is and that death comes still in a very long way.

Monica - posted on 09/22/2009





I'm not sure where specifically she has picked up the "fear" of growing up and dying. She is absolutely relating the 2 together. She asked tons of questions about all sorts of things. from "what kind of fruit is that tree making", to "why do I have to look for cars when I'm on the sidewalk" and my favorite one "why is the sun following me" I do try to keep the responses simple. It has been quite difficult to keep simple responses to something so complex like death to a 4 1/2 year old. She has not experienced an actual case where a family member, pet...etc at least in any years she has memory of. (about 1 1/2 years old) and the matter was not discussed with her as she did not know the person and/or the pet.

Her dad and I are divorced and she does go back n forth between the homes. I don't have much control as to what he tells her, and recently had a conversation with him about addressing this topic and to not tell her complete lies like being a doctor will make you live forever. I have had some heart to heart conversations when she brings it up to try and comfort and ease her apparent anxiety over the whole matter. From she can always stay young in heart but everyone grows up; examples of the cycle of life, and reminding her how when the snow leaves and we watch all the flowers bloom, and how they have their own cycle too. Even telling her she is way to young to worry about it, and if she thinks I'm old that I'm not worried about it, and it takes a long time to grow up. and lots of other from the heart beliefs and truthful 'how it is' conversations.

I guess I don't know if I should even be trying to explain any of it at this point, and if I shouldn't how to direct her away from it. (she is head strong) Personally I feel if they are talking about it then you need to engage it (at their level of course) just running out of things that might help her ease her concern (or fear) of this topic. I agree with you that all kids reach a point where they have a perspective of it, I guess it probably usually happens when there is a comprehension of the matter. hmmm, but maybe not. I should also note, this is my only child, so clueless 1st mom (to some degree) learning as I go.

Lisa - posted on 09/22/2009




In the beginning of this year my daughter's pet hamster passed on (She just turned 4 this year in March, so she was still 3 at the time). When she woke up, she went to his cage and was wondering where he was, I told her that he passed on/died and that I had already buried him in the yard and given him a rock for a stone marker (so she could visit him whenever she wanted). My daughter cried for about half and hour while I held her, comforted her and explained death further, telling her about our beliefs and how her hamster was with God and one day we would get to see him again. Now a lot of people think that you have to completely sugar coat things for children, but my daughter seemed to appreciate the honesty and was able to cope with the idea of death and how everyone and everything will eventually pass on, but be reunited in Heaven with God.

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May I ask where she heard of this? Most kids dont even notice this topic until later unless either a pet or person they knew has passed on.

my kids were introduced to it when my sons great grandfather passed on (my older kids have different fathers) he didnt know him but when he found out he was so upset.

When he visited his great grandmother this summer she gave him two very old toy trucks from his ggrandfather, I think that helped him out quite a bit I think just having something of his that he could physically see.

If she is worried about a specific person (or pet) that is gone maybe you could put together something she can look at. kids look at things from a physical standpoint, we as adults can believe that people are still here long after they pass on, but children have a hard time understanding that. Also you could explain that no matter if the person is physically here or not you can still have love for them and you wont forget them.

Its definitely harder when they are so young, but eventually they learn how to put it in perspective for themselves. Just tell her what you believe, you dont need to lie or make things up, tell it from your heart.

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