Thursday, 14 April 2016

A Tough Subject

How do you talk to a toddler about such a thing? Something that is so real but something we want to shield them from? It's a subject that has started to come up more and more as Finley gets older and questions are getting asked when we visit my Gramps grave. And that is death.

I don't want to scare him or make him think about it too much as he is only 4 but it's something he's getting more curious about.

The other day as we drove past a grave yard Finley said to me 'that's Grampy's gravy yard.' It wasn't the same one, so I told him that it was one very similar and Grampy's grave was in the village my Nan lives in. I could see in the mirror him thinking then Noah popped up saying 'Grampy's house.' Finley instantly told him 'no as Grampy died. He was old so he died.' This gave me a lump in my throat because he understood why my Gramp was no longer here. But it got me thinking because I don't want him to think that everyone who is old will die because we all say it don't we, 'oh I'm getting old' and I worry that it will start to play on his mind and that he will start to worry.

I talk about my Gramp often to my mum & nan and also in everyday conversation because he was a huge part of my life. And I've explained to Finley why he is no longer here, just with the brief 'because he was poorly' but I'm not sure where he got the old bit from.

It's such a tough subject that we need to talk about with our children but a subject that I wonder if I need to be totally honest. Do I sugar coat it so that in later life they are shocked or do I tell my innocent 4 year old the truth? 

How do we education such little minds about death because it's a big part of our lives as they will lose family and they will have friends who lose family and they will have so many questions. 

Be direct or wrap them in cotton wool? I honestly don't know.
Best of Worst
Mummuddlingthrough
A Cornish Mum

Reflections From Me

41 comments:

  1. It's such a difficult conversation isn't it? We're very lucky that we haven't had to face death in our family yet (hoping to goodness that I'm not tempting fate with that statement). We did visit Bolton Abbey a few days ago and walked through the very old graveyard. Miss Tot was oblivious and ran up onto one of the flat grave markers. I had to try and explain why she shouldn't climb on them and for the first time I decided to touch on the notion that people die when they get very old or when they are ill. She didn't seem phased but I don't think that she really took any of it in. I think it will be another very tough conversation for another day. It is so hard though. xx
    #coolmumclub

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    1. Just popping by again through #justanotherlinky. Thank you for hosting xx

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  2. Honesty is the best policy! I lost my mum when Ella was 11 months old and she's known from a young age that her Granny is in the sky. Ella was 5 when Oliver was born and we had to be honest with her about how poorly he was. We never wanted to give her false hope and found being honest was best. #bestandworst

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  3. Honesty is the best policy! I lost my mum when Ella was 11 months old and she's known from a young age that her Granny is in the sky. Ella was 5 when Oliver was born and we had to be honest with her about how poorly he was. We never wanted to give her false hope and found being honest was best. #bestandworst

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  4. I raised the issue with Tigs just a few months back (she was 3, just about to turn 4). She raised the question as to where our friends horse was now, so I replied, it had died. It raised question after question, and lots of reassuring answers. She now says every time anyone uses the word 'dead' or 'died' : 'It's not nice to say that'. I think that might have been when i told her not to play 'killing each other' in the garden though...It's a real tough one!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub...the right moments will come xx

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  5. My grandparent lived with us and both died within a year of each other. I was 5/6 and being from an Irish Catholic family the tradition was to have the person laid out on a bed rather than in a closed coffin, for about 3 days prior to the funeral during which time friends and family would visit to pay their respects. As a child I was accepting of the fact that this was the norm and so as a result I have never been 'creeped out' about the subject or found it taboo. My Mum has told me that she realised at one point that there was nobody sitting with my Grandma when she was laid out so went up to the bedroom to find my brother and I sitting either side of her chatting. I think that says it all really, kids pick up on your response to certain situations so if you are relaxed but honest about it they will hopefully process it in a positive way. Obviously this is just my own experience but I am certain that this is why I honestly don't get phased by the subject at all (though I understand why other do). I hope this helps. #coolmumclub

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  6. Hi Kirsty, death is a tough subject and I to honest I can't totally remember how I talked to my two about it, but as I've never been one for sitting the children down to talk (I'd rather chat and see where questions go) it probably happened over a space of time.

    We've been lucky in that there have been very few deaths in the family, and being away from most of the family means they don't really affect our day to day lives too much.

    If I were you I'd just go with the flow of the chat, children are amazing at digesting what they need to and forgetting the rest and you are right to be cautious about saying we die when we are old or sick as you don't want to overly worry the children every time you get a cold or an achy aging joint!

    xx

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  7. Hello again from #justanotherlinky :)

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  8. Oh that's a tough one. But I guess it's best to stay honest from the get go. I was fortunate enough to be old enough when I lost someone close but my nan passed away just before my daughter was born and I will always talk about her and tell her that she is in the sky! #JustAnotherLinky

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  9. It is such a tricky one isn't it. I find myself getting into similar knots about it too. What is the best thing to say, how to say it. Do we shield them from it or should we be open. Such a tricky one. I think there are some really good children stories that help children understand death and grief so I think that may be the way forward. #justanotherlinky

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  10. its such a horrible subject and luckily we haven't had to deal with any of this yet but Im not sure how i'd managed, every child is different so i suppose it depends on how we think they will handle it as their parents. well written and handled perfectly. I can remember my nan passing away and i was 12, a very emotional time for a teenager, but i can just remember thinking thats my mammas, mummy and that was so upsetting seeing her in pain. Now as a mother myself, this is amplified and i often think back to that moment and want to go back in time and hug my mummy a little harder. RIP GRAMPS AND MY NANNA :) #Justanotherlinky

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  11. I can still remember learning about it as a kid and asking loads of questions, and being scared, which makes me terrified at the idea of having to explain it to Piglet. I should probably get practising as I don't want him to be as terrified as I was, but I guess it's only natural. #justanotherlinky

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  12. I'm not sure. My grandfather recently passed away, but my boy was too young to understand even though he was at the funeral. Hope you get some good advice #justanotherlinky

    Nadia - ScandiMummy x

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  13. I suppose it depends on the child and how they are, in terms of maturity. Good luck what ever you choose to do :) #justanotherlinky

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  14. I honestly would not know either how to approach the subject of death with a toddler. My daughter is only 10 weeks old so I have lots to learn on how to communicate with toddlers xx

    #justanotherlinky

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  15. The truth in simple terms for them. They are very good at understanding X #justanotherlinky

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  16. That is tough. I think I will be as honest as I can be, but also as simple as I can be, when the topic comes up. As Sam above says, it is always surprising how well they accept stuff, if explained simply and honestly. Thanks for hosting. #justanotherlinky

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  17. We think honesty is the best policy and it might be a bit much for little minds to process at first but best little ones get a greater understanding. #JustAnotherLinky

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  18. It such a difficult one isn't it? We're Christians and I think that makes it a bit easier. We told T that a friend of ours went to live at God's house. She seemed quite excited by the prospect haha! #justanotherlinky

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  19. My boy is just over a year old, so I'm thankful I don't have to deal with the tough stuff like this yet.
    But, I like to think that when the time comes, my son will be asking the questions because he is ready to hear the truth. In reality, kids can face death at any age. My nephew was just three when my brother (his uncle) died, and many questions followed as he coped. It surprised me how well he understood everything. Kids are smarter than we give them credit! <3 #justanotherlinky

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  20. This is such a tricky one. I know its not quite the same, but my niece is obsessed with the family dog, who is getting very very old - slightly dreading how she'll be when we lose the dog. So my Sister in law has already started explaining gently to her about how dogs and people get old and go to heaven and stuff. She asks a lot of questions about it but we've done it in as positive a way as we can. xx #justanotherlinky

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  21. This isn't an easy one at all. My dad passed away when I was 19 and my boys never met him. I talk about him a lot and we have photos displayed at home of him so they know who he is. His favourite flowers were daffodils and we have plenty in the garden. I told H who is 3 that granddad loves daffodils. This morning he was outside with daddy and he said 'when is granddad George coming to se my daffodils' hubby didn't know what to say. #justanotherlinky

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  22. It's such a difficult subject, because I'm Christian I do find it easier to explain my faith comforts me so when I tell my children what I believe I hope I deliver comfort to them too. Perhaps because of my faith I find this area a bit easier than those who don't really think of death or have any beliefs in general so it's the end is the end which is fine I just find that so hard for kids before I hate to think that we die and that's that! X

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  23. It's so tricky isn't it. My son is 3.5 and very very inquisitive, he asks tons of questions! He has asked about what being dead means and he knows that graveyards are where people are buried. But I'm not sure he really understands what it means! #justanotherlinky

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  24. This is such a difficult thing to talk about isn't it? Mia is almost 3 and we haven't once mentioned 'death' to her but her great-grandparents are well into their 80's and my partners mum is very, very ill, we know that really soon we are going to have to explain death to her and if I'm honest, I really don't know what to say to her!

    #justanotherlinky

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  25. I had a similar conversation this evening. At some point we'll have to explain about their brothers but for now we will start with the very likely inevitable fate of the bird with a broken wing we found in the garden.

    We will see if there's anything that can be done but know the liklihood is that the vet will have to put it down.

    We've decided we'll be as honest as we can be.

    #PickNMix

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  27. Interesting post. And a tough subject no doubt. I guess if the child is four or older, would be better to tell them the truth (in not so harsh a manner)? But it would also depend on the person in question, the circumstances, the situation etc etc. Tough one...
    #justanotherlinky

    Nicole
    http://talesfrommamaville.wordpress.com

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  28. Interesting post. And a tough subject no doubt. I guess if the child is four or older, would be better to tell them the truth (in not so harsh a manner)? But it would also depend on the person in question, the circumstances, the situation etc etc. Tough one...
    #justanotherlinky

    Nicole
    http://talesfrommamaville.wordpress.com

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  29. It's hard isn't it? I've always had the policy with my two of answering any questions they have honestly, obviously with a varying amount of detail according to how old they were. These days they will come to me and ask me what something is or means even if they can tell it's a bit rude or sensitive, so I think honesty and being open with them is a good thing in my experience.
    Death is one of those uncomfortable subjects, but it's a lot about how we react as we talk to them that they pick up on I think. Honestly think you've been right to talk about it with and in front of them lovely is what this really long waffly comment is saying ;)

    Stevie xx #PicknMix

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  30. We've been dealing with this lately and I've written a couple of posts about it. It's so hard to know what to do but in the end I've given BB a rose tinted glasses version... #justanotherlinky

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  31. A really interesting post and something I've been questioning for a while myself since my own grandad passed away a couple of months ago. Experts say these days that we should be more straightforward with kids about death and should avoid sugary phrases in favour of the simple "He died" but I do worry about scary the hell out of them! A tough subject indeed. #justanotherlinky

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  32. I think it is a tough one. My elder son is 3 and a bit obsessed with death - the topic of dinosaurs and Good Friday kind of collided, so he's had lots of questions about it, but I don't think he's really grasped the finality of death (do we ever?). I think the advice about being honest is good. #coolmumclub

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  33. I too have recently tried to think of how I wanted to explain this subject to my kids. They haven't had to experience it yet, thank goodness but I know the time will come. So sorry for your loss :( death is never easy for anyone regardless even if it happens like it's supposed to in the circle of life. Thank You for hostessing the wonderful #justsnotherlinky.

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  34. It is so hard honey and I wish I could give you a wise answer, but what I know is every child and every situation is different, so as a parent I think we need to b guided by our hearts with this one. I believe in honesty that is age appropriate, but I believe that we know our children best and can make that judgement call. Just have faith in yourself. I also take on board my child's natural curiosity if they want to know they will ask, if they don't have an interest then don't force it. Hope that helps a little #mg

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  35. Awww it is tough especially as they become more aware of things like this but I feel it's good to be open and talk honestly. Thanks for linking up! #bestandworst

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  36. It's a tough subject and one I don't like myself.I always try and give an honest answer with as much detail as is needed depending on the age. I had a Grampie too. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

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  37. Such a difficult conversation :( Luckily I haven't had that conversation with my children YET!

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  38. Oh hun I cam imagine this is a very difficult subject. He's very smart to be aware already of things like that but I know what you mean, there's no easy way to explain death. I would personally use a mixture of both straight talking and cotton wool wrapping. At such a young age it's hard to want them to know to much about such a sore subject, and difficult to know whether they fully understand x ps thank you for hosting as always x

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  39. It's such a tricky subject to approach, but I think one that must be addressed and not sugar coated.
    My son is nearly 3, but we have always explained death to him from a young age - it started with the fish from the fish tank, as he got older he's now known of two of my mum's pet sheep that have died. The one she took him to see dead, and explained it to him.
    How much he can really comprehend about it, I'm unsure, but I think the younger it's introduced, the easier it is to approach when a family member does die x

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  40. It's such a tricky subject to approach, but I think one that must be addressed and not sugar coated.
    My son is nearly 3, but we have always explained death to him from a young age - it started with the fish from the fish tank, as he got older he's now known of two of my mum's pet sheep that have died. The one she took him to see dead, and explained it to him.
    How much he can really comprehend about it, I'm unsure, but I think the younger it's introduced, the easier it is to approach when a family member does die x

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