Would you get your toddler a fish knowing that it will (eventually) die? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 03-09-2011, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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At work they got a couple of goldfish for the reception area and it's really started me thinking about getting a fish for home. I want something really simple (as in a big round bowl, no tank, no filter, etc) and am leaning towards a Betta fish.


HOWEVER, these kind of fish generally do not last more than a year or two so eventually I will have to explain to DS that the fish died. My dilemma is this - is this likely to traumatize him or is it (perhaps) a somewhat gentler way of discussing and experiencing death in a natural fashion. (I'm thinking of DS's elderly great-grandmother, whom we see fairly regularly but is becoming very frail of late.)


Thoughts? BTDT?

- C reading.gif + Tsuperhero.gif = DS 08/08 bouncy.gif  DD 02/12 angel.gif and D? praying.gif sometime around March 16/2014 

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#2 of 5 Old 03-10-2011, 09:47 PM
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We got a betta fish for my son when he was 2. We keep a 5 gallon tank with filter and heater just like a regular fish tank. Now when we first got the tank, we had a male betta in it and then got a female with a divider for the tank so they were separate. The male died a few months later and I matter-of-factly explained that all animals die and so do people. No reason to skirt the issue. He does occasionally say "mommy fish is looking for the daddy fish" so I know he feels some loss and compassion - which to me is a good thing.


Good news is the female betta is still alive and has been for over a year. We have had some algae fish in there that have died in the meantime, but my son is not traumatized by any of these deaths. I am sure he will miss his "mommy fish" when she dies, but this is part of growing up and he so enjoys watching her and feeding her, that to me it is worth the lesson of loss later on.

Christ Lovin' SAHM to JL 11/07, MP 5/95 and Empty Nester to BT and RM 7/89
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#3 of 5 Old 03-11-2011, 11:09 AM
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of course!  i love some fish. 

i will say, though, if that's a concern, you could always do goldfish if you're willing to get a filter.  they do live longer (and are awesome to boot, but again, so are bettas)..  you wouldn't need a heater for the goldies, as well. 

not to be a downer, but there's no way to know when any of our critters will die-- cats, dogs, etc.  life is unpredictable..  so, i would (and we have a tank, but it's a little more elaborate of a setup) totally get fish.  <3

Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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#4 of 5 Old 03-12-2011, 05:48 AM
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Yes! I think a fish is a great idea, and a smart way to start talking about life cycles and death at a young age.

Alissa: married to dh since 05/2006 and mama to Solomon (08/2009) and Ezra (04/2012).

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#5 of 5 Old 03-12-2011, 05:43 PM
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I agree. I think it's good to start talking about death early. We have lost two dogs since DD has been around, one she remembers, and while she was very upset when the dog died, it didn't last long. She still talks about the dog, knows where the ashes are buried, and as she gets older, we talk about how the body has been returned to the earth, etc. It's also a good stepping stone for talking about what happens after death (heaven, Rainbow Bridge, nothing, etc).

Perdita - newly SAHM to DD July/05 & DS Feb/10 joy.gif
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