How do you handle questions about mortality?

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

Will you discuss the death topic with your preschooler before someone/something dear dies?

a) Yes
6
86%
b) No
1
14%
 
Total votes : 7

How do you handle questions about mortality?

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:38 am

Since there is already a thread on "where we come from", I guess it is only fair that we have a thread on "where we are going to".

The purpose is not to go into a religious debate, but more of how we broach the subject of our own mortality to our children - the fact that we will not always be around to look after them. How do we answer our children's questions on whether we would die like everything else, and what will happen to them when we do?

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Re: How do you handle questions about mortality?

Postby jedamum » Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:29 am

Erm...my boy never ask me "where are we going to" when we die. For us, when the life ends, we die. Like the plants that withered. When my boy ask me what is 'heaven' (he picked that up from listening to one of the nursery rhymes), I just told him that some religion believes that when someone die, this is the place they'll go to and we don't know whether that place exist, but the Believers believe them and we should just let that be and don't debate about it.

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Re: How do you handle questions about mortality?

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:11 pm

Yes. But the question is actually more about assurance than religion. How do we answer a question about our own mortality? My boy asked me this question when he was 4 years old, about whether mummy and daddy will grow old, and whether we would eventually die. The question stems more from fear of abandonment than the fear of death itself.

I don't think it is appropriate to sweep such questions under the carpet. Too many times, we oriental parents tend to tell our children not to ask these questions, and treat the subject as taboo. This creates a nagging uncertainty in children, such that the fear of being abandoned grow into the fear of death itself.

Can we even assure our children that the world will go on even without us, so that they will view the passing of close ones as a natural part of life?

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Postby breguet » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:22 pm

This one's a really hard one for us. My son stumbled on the subject when when he noticed a taxi we were in had "an uncle with white hair." The amount of weeping and head hitting (so he won't grow up and therefore I won't grow old) for years after that has been difficult to bear. He says he's now so obsessed with robots because they don't die and only have one disease - rust, which they can pull out with a special magnet that he will invent. He's really terrified of disease too.

About disease, I tell him that adults have a plan to conquer most of the diseases out there, so he's become quite assured. He still can't walk into the diseases display at the Science centre, but he's willing to read about them now. For the big abandonment fears, I've left it to his imagination to help him cope for now, till he becomes mature enough to accept the inevitable.

BTW, I'll be turned into a cyborg gradually when my parts fail. "It'll be painful Mummy, but you'll live forever!" :shock: Hmm, don't know why don't I find that re-assuring :?.

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Postby jedamum » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:02 pm

Cyborg-breguet, your boy is so cute! :lol:

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Postby darth vader » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:01 pm

My daughter asked if daddy and mommy will go to heaven, like Jesus. No answer to that, but we told her that one is waiting for death since day one, 生老病死 is a natural thing though order may not be so... What we can do is take care of ourselves, accidents do happen so just got to be careful, the rest? We'll leave it to the higher authority.

It doesn't matter if she understood then - Because she knows that we're always in her heart, no matter where we are, watching her and loving her always. She will place her hand over her heart and said yes, she can feel daddy & mommy inside her.

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Postby fo12eal » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:33 am

I will not avoid this when/if my child ask me this. In fact, when I have the chance to tell her when she is 'ready', I will do so. If I failed to tell her that before she is 'ready', she will get to read what I have written for her all these while.

生老病死
就是那麼簡單
當我們離開的時候
沒有什麼好遺憾的
因為我們在一起的時候
是快樂的
而那些記憶將是永恆的

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Postby ChiefKiasu » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:49 am

fo12eal wrote:... 生老病死
就是那麼簡單
當我們離開的時候
沒有什麼好遺憾的
因為我們在一起的時候
是快樂的
而那些記憶將是永恆的


Wow... I can imagine your child reading it after the fact... even with my half-baked Chinese... I still find it so beautiful... :cry:

(yah... jedamum... dunno why so sentimental tonight)

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Postby breguet » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:51 am

fo12eal wrote:生老病死
就是那麼簡單
當我們離開的時候
沒有什麼好遺憾的
因為我們在一起的時候
是快樂的
而那些記憶將是永恆的


Wow.

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Postby phantom » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:32 pm

fo12eal wrote:生老病死
就是那麼簡單
當我們離開的時候
沒有什麼好遺憾的
因為我們在一起的時候
是快樂的
而那些記憶將是永恆的


That's cool.

For me, I talk to my kid about death like just a normal topic, part of life. I don't make it sound exceptional or a taboo to talk about. I usually just correlate to death of plant, insect and animals when we saw it and relate that back to human.

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