View Full Version : Telling your child about death

11-12-14, 03:34 PM
My grandfather just passed, and it's the first relative that has passed that DD, 6 years old, knew and has a relationship with.

I wasn't around for the conversation - DW handled it. I believe in making it concrete and relatable. When people are very very old their body can stop working. When that happens, the doctors can't fix it anymore, and they're no longer with us. We bury their body and we remember them and think about them; they don't feel any pain or hurt anymore. I think my wife said something about 'and then God takes care of them' .. something like that.

DD didn't like it and was a little uneasy, but she was ok with it. She hasn't asked any follow up questions.

What have you told your kids? Particularly very young kids?

11-12-14, 03:44 PM
Thats a really tough situation. My dad passed away 4 years ago and my boys had a very close relationship with him which made things tough. They would paint pictures and say it was for him when he came back home. It took a while and lots of questions but they finally understood.

From the sound of things your wife did a great job explaining to her what happened.

Im willing to share more if you wish, just shoot me a message.

11-12-14, 03:54 PM

I am sorry for your loss. I'm not a parent so I'm not sure about how to talk to her but I know that there are respected books out there about talking to kids about death of a loved one.

11-12-14, 05:00 PM
so sorry for your loss! what your wife said was very good I think.
honestly I don't remember how I told my son about my dad (he was 6).

11-12-14, 05:16 PM
Steve, sorry for you loss. :grouphug:

We had to tell my granddaughter that her grandfather had died when she was just 4.

We couldn't tell her that he was old and his body was worn out, he was only 50.
We tried to explain what a heart attack was, what caused it, and that it's heritable,
that his grandfather had also died early from a heart attack.

She's a very intelligent kiddo and has ADHD, and she was very concerned about
heart attacks, and whether he had been in pain, and that kind of stuff.

I explained that he had two heart attacks in the prior 10 years, and those were
terribly painful, but the one that took his life was very quick, no time to hurt.

Since then she's lost her favorite aunt to cancer at the age of 50, and her other
grandmother to cancer when she was 70. I'm glad we explained to her that
this is just a part of life, that we are sad, but that life goes on.

11-13-14, 06:16 AM
I think what you say to any child about someone's death should (ideally at least) be tailored to that child's emotional and intellectual maturity. It's never easy or perfect, but getting somewhere close to that ideal is far better than disregarding it.

Additionally, IMO, making appropriate efforts to avoid transmitting one's own fears of death and dying to a child is always important.