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09/26/2008 at 03:00 PM ET

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Dana on

We try not to sugar coat things for our kids (ages 4 and 7), but we also don’t say or explain things to them that will lead to future “damage” because of it. We have explained death to them in the past. When they ask when Mommy or Daddy are going to die, I always reply, “I hope not for a long, long time.” Similar to what the author stated, but I try to stress the “hope.” Because, you never know.

About a month ago, my grandmother passed away after a short illness, but it was still completely unexpected. I had no idea how I would tell my kids. I was out in the den crying, when my oldest came out and asked what was wrong. I explained to her that my grandma had been sick for a couple of months (which she knew), but that she had died. My daughter started crying and I comforted her. The youngest came out about 5 minutes later, and I had to explain it all over again. My husband came home to find his girls all curled up together on the couch in tears.

We were honest with them, and even took them to the burial with us. They knew everything that was going on. But after the initial conversation about her passing away, we tried to never make it into something sad. Yes, she died, and yes, we missed her very much. But we also had so many good memories of her, and she would not want anyone, let alone the girls, to be sad over her.

This may not work for everyone, but in our situation it seemed to fit. Our oldest is an overly emotional soul, so we were quite surprised at how well she handled it.

J on

that man is insane! him and his wife had 9 kids! wasn’t his family helping at all? the woman was raising 8 kids and then she got pregnant again. the kids should’ve been taken away from them when they were charged with child endangerment in 2004. he had to quit his job because he couldn’t handle all the responsibilities he had? so he wasn’t doing anything the hole time his wife was alive? he’s a joke!

MB on

Dana I’ve done similar. I don’t have kids yet but I teach Sunday school to small children and one of the classes I took over after their teacher passed away very suddenly. First I had the kids explain to me what they understood (these were 4 & 5 yr olds). I was a little surprised at how much they already knew. This was church so there was a religious overtone to our discussion but I think the important part is just to meet the kids at where they are at developmentally (which I determined by letting them talk first) and then being honest of course but focusing on the happy memories they shared with the person who died.

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