Many many years from now

Me: Get in bed...time to sleep.

Sam: I don't want to sleep.

Me: But you need your sleep to grow up strong and healthy.

Sam: I don't want to grow up.

Me: Why not?

Sam: Because then I'll get old and die. (crying and covers pulling up over his head)

Me: Who told you that?

Sam: I heard you saying you get old and then die.

Me: Let me tell ya grandma was 89 when she died. You're four. That means she lived another 85 years after being four. You've got a long long time before you have to even think about dying. Besides, when you get older you get to do all sorts of fun things.

The conversation then shifted to all the possibilities for what Sam could do when he grows up.

Yeah...I haven't screwed this kid up AT ALL.

The worse part is that I don't remember talking about dying AT ALL. And Sam is currently at the point in his ability to tell time where everything happened "last week" or "last morning." We don't talk about dying. Sam has, on occasion, acknowledged that his brothers died and went to be angels...but that's it as far as the death talk in our house as far as I remember.

I want my old life back.


Heather said…
He isn't screwed up. He is delightful! Don't be so hard on yourself.
Anonymous said…
He isn't screwed up AT ALL. This is totally normal, and you actually handled it really well. Some people tell their kids they are never going to die, which is a lie, and messes them up. Some people just say, "Don't talk about it." Which does not answer the question...and smart kids know that.
Every Doctor, therapist, & pediatrician I've seen over the years tells me that gentle-truth telling is exactly the right thing to do with kids, and you did it.
Keep it up.
Anonymous said…
If it helps any, my 5-year-old spontaneously started crying the other night at bedtime because he said he "just realized" that someday his Daddy would die.
Dad, by the way, is in great health, knock wood.
We don't talk about death too much here either and he does not know about our miscarriage years back so go figure.
I think sometimes kids just think about this stuff, that's all.
Sam does sound delightful.
Anonymous said…
My six-year-old comments and asks questions about death all the time. I think it's a fairly normal curiosity.

I agree with the other commenters that you handled it well.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, i think Alexander and i had a similar conversation when he was little. So i think it is very normal, and it sounds like you handled it very well.
Anonymous said…
Olivia has started talking about death too. She talks about people we know who have died or how we will one day die. It's completely normal for their age. And you handled it great.
Brenda said…
Sam is VERY normal!
I'm a Childcare worker and kids go through a stage where they are almost obsessed with talking and knowing things about death.

Death is EVERYWHERE. You might not be talking about it at home but its on TV (the NEWS and even kids shows).

So don't panic. I suggest answering any questions truthfully but age appropriate. But you do only want to answer his questions and no more. Their little brains don't need to be filled with our worries and anymore info than they ask for.

Hugs Brenda
Mindi said…
I think you did a great job! Death is normal for children of this age to worry about. Obsessing is another matter. My grandfather died when I was 6. Everyone told me he was getting better and then when he died they told me not to cry about it because he felt better. I actually got in trouble for crying. Talk about screwing a kid up! You handled it just fine!

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