My fiance's children are 13, 9 and 6. They had an outside cat who they all loved, who died Christmas Eve. My fiance and I agreed not to tell the children until after Christmas, because we didn't want to ruin their Christmas. I told my sons (18 and almost 3) two days after Christmas that Griffyn had passed away, my fiance's landlord had found him in the driveway. My fiance put off telling his children, until I finally asked him when he was gonna tell them, and he said maybe he should just let them believe he ran away. I disagree 100%, but they are not my children yet!
My fiance's Wife, their Mother, passed away with little warning 3 1/2 years ago and their maternal grandfather a couple months before that, and they both affected the children greatly, which I'm sure is a major part of my fiance's decision, but still, I disagree.
Also, my 18 year old disagrees with my fiance's decision, but can keep his mouth shut- my 3 year old has brought up to me several times how Griffyn's in Heaven now, and it's only a matter of time before he says something about it in front of my fiance's kids. I've asked my fiance what he'll do if my little one says something, and he said he'd just say my son doesn't know what he's talking about. (Yes, I've let him know if he cuts my son down like that in front of my son, a dead cat will be the least of his worries!) Several of my fiance's family members and neighbors know, so it's not like it's that big of a secret anyways, one I don't want any part of!
The 13 year old and the 9 year old point blank asked me if I thought Griffyn was dead or why won't he come back, or would he just go off to die alone, maybe? (The last time they saw him, he was sick, and then went outside and never came back.) I told them I wasn't sure, I don't know, but that was before I knew their father would not be telling them- they asked me on Christmas during present unwrapping! If they ask again, I don't know what to say- I don't want them to think I have anything to do with their father's lie, no matter how well-meaning he intends it, because I believe it's disrespectful to the children not to tell them and I don't want them to think I had anything to do with it and have them break their trust in me. I think the 13 year old "knows", just looking for confirmation. The 9 year old stands by the back door every night calling for Griffyn. But if it comes up and I tell them when my fiance does not want them to know, I'm overruling him to his children, plus I'm likely starting a big fight between myself and my fiance. Plus, I have an inside cat of my own and he will remain an inside cat when we marry and live together, and I want to make sure everyone, fiance and children, understand the seriousness of keeping him an inside cat and not get lax about letting him out, because I don't want him to end up like their cat.
First of all, I'm right, aren't I? You should tell your kids when their pet dies, especially when they're 13 1/2, almost 10 and 6 1/2, right?
Second of all... where can I find information to convince my fiance to just tell them himself?
In my opinion kids need to deal with emotions but the only way to do that is have them in the first place. I wish I had info but I don't.
"My fiance's Wife, their Mother, passed away with little warning 3 1/2 years ago and their maternal grandfather a couple months before that, and they both affected the children greatly, which I'm sure is a major part of my fiance's decision, but still, I disagree."
I think this part is crucial. You may be right. But it sounds like for your fiance he is not there yet. I think you should respect his wishes for telling his children. It is awkward that your kids know and his don't; but I imagine this is pretty tough for him - as it brings up so many other losses. I can't imagine how difficult the time was when he lost his wife, and they their mother.
I think you should leave this to him, and be a support. So that if or when he decides to talk to them about what happened to the cat, you can support him. If they ask you what you think, I would just direct them to their father.
I agree with you, they should know the truth, be allowed to grieve, and move on. I understand him wanting to protect them from the hurt, but it also hurts to have a pet disappear and never know what happened. I am with you on this, and you all need to come together and do something really special to honor their beloved pet.
The other thing to talk about with him is how the uncertainty is affecting the kids. Obviously the 9 yr old is torn up about it and worried on a daily basis. Is he doing that child a favor or a disservice by not telling the truth? And the fact that the 9 & 13 yr old have already realized (3 wks ago) that the cat may be dead and ASKED shows that they are mentally and emotionally preparing themselves for the news. At this point, telling them will be very sad but possibly also a relief to have an answer so they can mourn the loss.
I understand his hesitation to tell them about the cat dying, because of reminding them of their mom and grandfather dying-I'm sure that will hard :(
However ,I do think that the loss of a cat is very different and it may possibly be good for them to experience and get through this lesser grief to better learn to deal with the emotions.
I also think it is not okay for him to drag it out so long-I know my kids would be getting more and more worked up as the days go by and it would be harder the longer you wait. Whatever he decides, he needs to tell them something soon. Plus, telling them the cat ran away will give them false hope, and I could see the 9-year-old might continue on yelling at the door for a long time.
this is a tricky one since your kids know the truth and his don't. I honestly don't know how to deal with that, but it is clear that you guys need to have a talk about how to deal with the different rules for different kids thing in general :) Good luck mama!