What to tell the kids when a member of the family is dying

Discussion in 'Kids & Teenagers' started by izzlesnizzle, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. izzlesnizzle

    izzlesnizzle Well-Known Member

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    My dad is terminally ill and while I don't need to worry about telling my LO anything, my sister has 3 kids aged 12, 9 and 6. My brothers 6 yr old has been asking them what its like to die and those sorts of questions which they've dealt with because she overheard an adult phone conversation but my sisters kids don't know anything and she was asking me if I thought she should start to prepare them. I didn't really know what to say, apart from I thought maybe she could tell them granddad is very poorly. I think shes dreading it as the oldest child will take it hard and be deeply upset but the middle one has anger issues and shes expecting him to flip out and react angrily.

    I realise this is a sensitive thread but does anyone have any experience with breaking bad news to kids?
     
  2. DJJ

    DJJ mummy

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    I think the age of the eldest they should be prepared l.my stepchildren's granddad dies earlier this year then the eldest has 13 and very close to his granddad.he was told something along the lines of him being very ill and that he wouldn't get better and he would die from it.we area religious family so we explained what we believe about death.it has always talked about openly but sensitively and age appropriate.hope that helps.
     
  3. tallybee

    tallybee DS '04, DD '06, DD '15

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    Gently and truthfully :flow:

    I'm atheist and never told my children anything I don't believe.

    Make sure they know that they can ask you any questions. Be as open as you can even though some of their questions can open up emotions.

    xxx
     
  4. suzib76

    suzib76 Well-Known Member

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    I would tell them all, gently, but definitely. Keeping it from them at this stage to protect them isn't really helpful as it is inevitable.
     
  5. Boomerslady

    Boomerslady Well-Known Member

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    I don't really have any advice, I just want to send :hugs: I agree with pps though, I think it's important to tell them, I too wouldn't know what to say though :(
     
  6. mommy43

    mommy43 isabel's mummy

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    I agree they should be told, its hard I know n there will no doubt be questions my opinion is that you'd be protecting them more by telling them it wont be so sudden & confusing for them, also family members might not be in the best frame of mind to explain things to a child when the time comes (((huge hugs to u x)))
     
  7. kerrie24

    kerrie24 me,him and 3 lo's

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    Kids are actually really receptive and as long as its talked about that it is happening,and yes it will be sad and we can cry (but not everyone might feel like crying)then they tend to accept it.Kids might seem ok on the outside but weeks later can start to think back and come to you with more questions.Just dont keep anything from them,that will be more upsetting than the truth x
     
  8. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Mother of 4

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    I think for older one tell them. I am not sure how I would with younger ones. But I recall my gran in hospital with a brain tumor and I was 16. I was told she was getting better. I was lied to and she died and I was very upset as I didnt get to spend them last times with her and lead to believe she was recovering., My mum admitted it later as I dont think they knew what to say to me as I was close to my gran more than my own mother.
     
  9. BabyAitchison

    BabyAitchison Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I work in the funeral industry and find when dealing with kids it is better to be honest, keep to the basic facts and just answer the questions they have. There is a lot of info on the web and I'm sure her gp or the hospital would also be willing to help, huge hugs xx
     
  10. Tigerlily01

    Tigerlily01 Well-Known Member

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    I would tell them.

    I saw my grandmother for the last time when I was 8 or 9, and my parents didn't tell me it was the last time I would see her until we were in the car going home (we lived far away), since they wanted our last visit to be a happy one. I was upset that they kept it from me...I hardly said a word to her the entire visit, since my cousins were there and we were all playing around the whole time. I have always regretted not spending more time with her, and while it probably made it easier for my grandmother not having to deal with crying kids, I think it was unfair to the kids. Especially after I found out that some of my cousins knew and some of us did not. It was hurtful to be kept in the dark. And one of my few interactions with her on that visit was negative (not in a big way, but still) and I remember everything about that interaction, since it was one of our last.

    The 6 year old may not understand as well, so may be less upset, but the other two will understand perfectly and will probably be more upset if it is kept from them.
     
  11. OnyxSnowfall

    OnyxSnowfall 2 boys and a girl!

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    :hugs: so sorry. My father passed last year. I was probably way too super logical in explaining death to my then 8 year old... I still don't know what else I would have changed, though. He knows the process of life and death and that it's natural and inevitable :shrug:. I answered any questions he had as factually as I could (I did interject my own personal beliefs a tad, but I also mentioned that some people believe other things --- which, opened up some other interesting discussions and opportunities for him to learn about varying ideas, beliefs and cultures [I was glad he was being inquisitive --- ultimately he didn't take grandpa's passing hard, thankfully]). My youngest didn't really comprehend what was going on --- but he was very careful with grandpa and aware that he wasn't doing well.
     

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