more about death

April 07, 2005

when i arrived at nursery today, one of the staff took me to one side.
"we're a bit concerned about isabel," she said. "she's been talking about dying, and where you go to die". she looks at me quizzically. "she said you have rocks on your head when you die? we thought you might have had a recent bereavement".

Its interesting that the staff asked you rather than Isabel if anyone she knew had died. She is still at an age where the consequences of mortality are beyond her, and I think its good to answer childrens questions honestly and frankly, because believe me, children can see through lies.

I imagine that the staff at her nursery are told to avoid answering questions related to sensitive areas such as death and dying and other issues like sex etc. I think in a way its a shame because children need immediate answers to questions. Like you said in your post a couple of days ago, you can give children other options to the larger questions.
Interesting subject. I remember when I was young, I was frightened of the thought of my parents dying and at night, I'd try to imagine what it would be like, how I'd feel if I didn't exist and nothing existed. What would be and where would all the feelings go?
Now as a parent, IMHO I think it's important not to frighten and put unnecessary worry and stress upon your child. (I'm not saying you did this Alice :)) There's nothing wrong with making death sound like there's nothing to worry about, even if you do not believe in it yourself. You can discuss the theories and your own beliefs on death when your child is older, and better equipped to handle the fact that there may be nothing after death, and heaven and angels are just a fantasy. As for the lying aspect, I think it's impossible to lie about death as nobody knows what happens really after we die.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity the think about how I'll be explaining this subject to Oliver. I'm sure it wasn't easy answering questions you are unprepared for (presumably) and you weren't expecting it YET. :)
I think its interesting that staff said they were 'concerned'. It makes it sound like you've done something wrong! Surely Isabel was just displaying the usual child's curiosity. There's nothing wrong with asking those questions, or trying to find answers.

I always wonder how I will approach the subject of my religion with my children. I'd want to be open but I couldnt have them going to school saying 'My mummy's a witch!' (though they'd probably say that anyway :-))
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