Children become aware of death at a young age, sometimes younger than we’d expect or are comfortable with. So when your child asks “will you die?” it can be hard to deal with. Hand in Hand Instructor Anca Deaconu’s son first showed his concerns through play.
“We were having special time and I was his old cat, one that he was afraid might die soon,” she says.
Not long after that, he started to ask specific questions about my grandfather, who passed away and about a dog I used to have. Later, when I got stung by a bee, he expressed his fear openly.
Will you die, mommy?”
His questions haven’t stopped there. “Who would take care of me if I die,” he asks.
I tell him about the big, caring family that we are blessed with. I also mention the fact that I plan on being around for a long time and am actually actively working on that – it’s the reason we are careful about what we eat and why we spend so much time outdoors taking all those long walks, I tell him. These are things we do to help us lead long and healthy lives, I explain.
In her book, Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges, Hand in Hand’s founder Patty Wipfler explains that avoiding children’s fears can be counter-productive: It’s better to face them head on, she says.
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