In the forum of parentsA mother is concerned by her 4-year-old son’s words: ” For some time our child has been talking more about death. In the evening before we go to bed he kisses us and says to us with his arms outstretched: “Mom, I love you so much! i don’t want you to die If you go, I’ll follow you to heaven. Words that hurt our hearts and surprise us without always knowing how to talk to him about death. »
Talking about death at the age of 3 or 4 is nothing to worry about, especially if our child has already experienced the death of an elderly person close to them, a sick person or even their pet. On the other hand, the irreversible aspect of death is recorded at an average age of 9 or 10 years. In order to best respond to their concerns, it is better not to make them taboo and to use the resources made available to us, especially books or picture albums.
Children naturally worry about death, whether they are aware of it or not. The little ones are great metaphysicians! They are not completely unfamiliar with the subject: they have heard of it and maybe already have already played dead« for fake “. But when the big questions come up more concretely and more frequently, we as parents can feel helpless, especially when it scares or embarrasses us.
The best is tooavoid making it taboo, agreeing to talk about it calmly with his child. This will rather imagine worse than reality, so silence is to be avoided. We tell him with that age appropriate words what death is: we talk to him about the cycle of life, for example by illustrating it with a bud that becomes a small very green leaf, then darkens before turning brown and detaching from the tree. It is better not to compare death to sleep, which could scare your child of dying while falling asleep, or to use understatements that would not allow your toddler to fully understand what is at stake. In particular, lies, even benevolent ones, are strongly discouraged by psychologists and early childhood education professionals.
The death of a loved one or a pet can be the trigger event for all these questions, notes Olivier Chambon, psychiatrist and psychotherapist: ” Your child notices this through the death of their pet or a grandfather or grandmother life is fleeting. He tells himself that it can happen to the people closest to him, to whom he is attached and who have always protected him. He also wonders what would become of him if this happened to him.».
My child is afraid of death
How do you explain the death of a baby or a teenager?
“We can offer the child to make a missing person souvenir box with photos, drawings, things they bought for them…” suggests Jessica Sotto.
Our Pet Has Died: How Can I Comfort My Child?
Answer all of the children’s questions about death
why do we die
When we die, are we reborn?
According to Jessica Sotto, it’s better to avoid saying your grandfather or grandmother is in heaven, asleep, or gone. The child may be waiting for his return, thinking that if he takes the plane he will see him or that he risks dying if he falls asleep too. If death is due to a serious illness, then it is named so that the child does not think that he can die from a simple cold. you have to be clear “We tell him that most of the time we die very old, which is not the case with us. We explain to him that the body has stopped moving and that even if his body is gone, we can still remember that person,” the expert suggests. Therefore, a clear and adjusted answer will help him to understand and be more calm.
As parents, should we take our children to a funeral?
To read: “Don’t you dare talk to children about death”, Dr. Olivier Chambon, editor of Guy Trédaniel