Death (abstract) and divorce (grandparents and uncle/aunt) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 01-23-2003, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello All,

I'm facing talking with my 3.5 year old about two : touchy topics:

-divorce (not ours, grandparents and uncle/aunt) and
-death.

The divorce is easier bc the divorcees live far away. However, we will soon be visiting them and I am weighing options for telling ds what to expect. I'm leaning toward telling him (maybe one day before we go) that gma and gpa don't live together anymore and that gpa won't be there when we arrive. And give some lame rational like "they're not friends anymore" or "they couldn't figure out how to get along...." Any advice here???

And death. We don't have a tv or this probably would have come up before now. On a couple of occasions now, he has heard reports of "people killed" on NPR. He came running to me and re-stated that fact and said how awful it was and that we should tell whomever killed them to "stop!" and that it's not nice. I'm proud of his empathy, but am wondering if I should even let him hear such things???? I can't shelter him from the whole world forever. And I firmly beleive that death is part of life, not to be feared, etc. It's just hard to explain that to a child, especially when...

last night he asked if he would die. I said that all things die, but that he will die a long long time from now and when he's ready (okay--stretching here). Then the tears welled up and he said, "But I want to stay with you forever." My response? We will be together forever. Our spirits will be together forever. Your spirit is what's inside of you that makes you alive. Your body is just bones and flesh without your spirit...and your spirit will always live and our spirits will always be together...forever.

Whew! He's satisfied for now, but I'm sure more questions are to come. I'm really walking the line here between honesty (and I refuse to lie to him), the breadth of what I can really be certain of, wanting to protect him from pain/reality of death for us all, etc... I would really like to hear how others have handled these questions and exposure to the concept of death at his age (3.5).

Dealing with some heavy issues here...looking forward what other wise mothers have to say!
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#2 of 4 Old 01-23-2003, 04:03 PM
 
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I think you handled the death thing really, really well. I have learned something from you!

As for the divorce thing, that's kind of tricky. I came from a family of divorce (g'parents, several aunts and uncles) and I lived in constant fear that my parents would become divorced. Unfortunately, that did come to pass when I was 12.

I would be as nonchalant as possible so that your son doesn't have to be afraid. After all, he just learned about death so I think you should hold off on the divorce thing. Personally, I wouldn't say anything about it until you are practically with the grandparents and then I would say something to the effect of "grandma and grandpa waited for their children to grow up and then they decided that they wanted to live in different places for a while." If you make it sound like they "don't like each other" then I think your son will be really freaked out everytime you and your husband (or partner) fight. And making it sound like it's the kind of thing people do AFTER their children are grown up will make it sound less scary to him.

Of course, I am not an expert so I'm pretty much rambling. I'll be interested in what others have to say.

And I wanted to say that I'm sorry you have to deal with the divorce of your parents. That's tough at any age.

LoveBeads
Maddy Moo - almost 3!
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#3 of 4 Old 01-23-2003, 10:41 PM
 
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ITA with lovebeads...and thought this:

Quote:
Originally posted by LoveBeads
...I would say something to the effect of "grandma and grandpa waited for their children to grow up and then they decided that they wanted to live in different places for a while."......making it sound like it's the kind of thing people do AFTER their children are grown up will make it sound less scary to him.
...was a wonderful suggestion.

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#4 of 4 Old 01-27-2003, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I like your suggestions about making divorce seem like something that happens after the kids are grown--but the aunt/uncle divorce has children of almost exactly my childrens' ages. Any advice for that??

Thanks!
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