So, I am not sure what to think about this. My smart 4 year old has been telling me she will be dead young. For example, we were talking about going on a disney cruise next summer and she said "I will be dead by then" she saw the look of horror on my face and said "don't worry about it, mom" Has anyone experienced anything like this?
I understand it does freak you out when your 4 year old talks about being dead. My son just turned 5, but in the previous year at various times, especially when he got really mad about something, he would occasionally say "I wish I were dead". Of course, the first time I heard that, I was completely thunderstruck. My husband has a way of sitting down with my son and gently asking him questions to find out the real motives behind what he says. In this case, he told him that we don't want him dead and asked him if he knew what it meant. My son didn't really get the idea that it was a permanent circumstance. We told him in terms that he'd understand what being dead really means and he got really sad and started crying. I think that he had heard the word in various scenarios - at preschool, from older kids of our friends - that didn't really show him what it meant. For instance, when our friends would come over with their kids who were ages 9 to 14, they'd play video games they'd brought along. For the record, my friends don't let their kids play really violent video games, however, I can imagine one of the "big" kids saying "I'm so dead" or "gotcha - you're dead" while playing their games. Or the boys bothering the girls and the girls scream "you're so dead - leave us alone". I think you get the idea. In general, our society uses "dead" loosely so perhaps your daughter has heard it under different circumstances and doesn't think it's a big deal. We don't let our kids watch the TV shows we watch - in fact, I make my husband change channels during commercials on Sports Center because so many are violent video game advertisements. If you watch any TV except sitcoms, generally, there is a dark undertone - often with death to them. Think NCIS, Burn Notice, etc. If our kids see that, they can start to think that being dead isn't such a big deal.
I guess what I'm saying is that our kids have stuff coming at them from all directions and we have to step up and ask questions to find out why they're doing what they're doing. Sometimes kids say things and figure out that we're sensitive to it. Maybe her dead comment wasn't really anything the first time, but when she saw she got a reaction from you, she decided to keep going with it. You know her better than anyone, so spend time with her and ask questions that will help you understand what she's thinking and where she's getting these thoughts. I'm sure you'll get to the answer.
I very specifically remember telling my mom that I couldn't go to bed because I would be dead by morning. I meant it, too. I really felt that way. (and I knew what "dead" meant.) My mom sent me to bed anyway, lol. I obviously didn't die as a child.
Does she watch the news? Do you and your so discuss the state of the world around her (I mean, when she is around)? Are you big environmentalists and talking about how bad things are?
Headlines blare all this and she may very well believe the world is hell in a handcart and nobody will be around. I think you need to sit down and ask HER what she means when she tells you such feelings.
Also, you may want to get her a complete check-up. Sometimes, we listen to our inner selves and there is something, physically, wrong. At age 4, she may not be able to separate the inner feelings and why she feels that way. A check-up wouldn't hurt..............
One other idea: Does she attend a preschool? Has she made such statements there?
I wonder if she's heard someone say they will be dead by then, meaning in 100 years or so. Maybe she didn't really understand. I know I have said things like that when I've talked with my kids about future inventions, etc, and things that will come up in the news. The next time Thanksgivukkah rolls around (in 70,000 years) we'll all be dead.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie