How do you parent a situation like this?!?!


New Member
I have a five year old daughter, who ALREADY has a VERY STRANGE obsession with death. She has lost a friend before who was very sick and simply could not make it. That she dealt with pretty good, but I remember it SPARKED her death obsession even MORE. Well, NOW she has lost another friend to a TRULY TRAGIC incident (I won't even describe here because it is TOO truly horrifying that it would make everyone cry, and I don't want to do that). Anyway, since this is a friend she only sees every couple of months (the son of a dear friend of my parents), I am trying to decide if I should tell her about her friend, or if she is young enough she would never know the difference if she DIDN'T see him again. But at the same time, I would NOT want to take a chance that we run into the family or she run into them while she is with my parents, and start asking questions, becuase it will be a VERY VERY long time before the family is going to be recovered enough to answer questions, especially those coming from a 5 year old.....

I don't want to get this death obsession any more fuel than it has already, do you think I am justified in NOT telling her?????

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I would tell her. Although I understand your concerns.

Her fixation with death may be her way of trying to understand it. It can be really difficult for one so young, espcially when it concerns children she plays with. Puts it on a more personal level. I mean, we as adults have an extremely hard time with a child's death, so imagine how difficult it must be for her to understand.

I'd definately include this in the psychiatrist visit, too.

Poor lil thing.



New Member
Thank you for the advice. Although choosing to tell her will bring up MORE questions. As I mentioned, his death was very tragic, and I am not sure HOW MUCH to tell her, as I know she isn't really going to understand. I would love to get some advice on which details to include and which to leave out, so if you want to, I could PM you the details if you are up for it, and maybe we could talk about it. I just would hate to post it....such a sad story to tell.........


New Member
I agree with Lisa. She will hear about it eventually and it would be better coming from you. What if she asks the family about him? They would have the burden of telling her.

As for the details, I would leave that as need to know basis. I don't think any adult would share the details of a horrible death with any child that young. At least I'd hope not.

I'd only tell her what she may hear from others. She is only 5 years old. Just try to keep it simple.

How sad this is for all involved.



Former desparate mom
I probably wouldn't tell her until the time that you may visit with the family. Once every few months is a lifetime to a 5 yr old. No way would I give her details. She doesn't need to know. Heck adults don't need to know.
Letting her know her friend has died or passed on or gone to the playground in the sky(depending on your belief system) is sufficient. No 5 yr old should be burdened with horrific details of anything especially the death of a loved one.
in my humble opinion.


Well-Known Member
If you very rarely saw these people, I think I would wait too until the times comes that you would be around them for some reason. She may be a little older and better able to handle it by them.

Could I ask you though ... how did you handle the death of the first child with your daughter? Did you discuss it and give her the opportunity to ask questions and get all the reassurance she needed? I ask that because when I was that same age (back in the Dark Ages!) the same thing happened to me. We had just started kindergarten, and I was just starting to make friends with kids my own age - up until then I had mainly played with cousins, etc. I got along well with one little girl who lived right across the street from the school - she was really my very first friend. We came in one day and this little girl wasn't there ... and then the teacher told us that there had been a fire at her house and that she had died! Then she said that if we talked about it, it would just make us all very sad, so we wouldn't talk about it! Then we went right back to our regular classroom routine! That was it! They would never handle it like that now but they did back then! And she was never mentioned again! It was like she had never existed at all! We never even talked about it among ourselves because we were given the impression that it was wrong to talk about it.

At that age, we really didn't understand death. We knew that people died, but we assumed they were all "old people" - that someone OUR age could actually die was a foreign concept to us - very hard to process. And we all went around thinking about it constantly and wondering if WE might be next! I know that I did! I was "obcessed" with it for a very long time, so many unanswered questions, so much worry and fear. It wasn't discussed at home either after that first day.

Your daughter may still be trying to process the death of her friend in her mind. It takes a long time. The first time you go through the death of someone you care about is one of those painful "rites of passage" that all children have to go through sooner or later, but five is very young. I'm sure you discussed it thoroughly with her, but as time goes on she will probably have more and more questions and need a lot of reassurance. Just give her every opportunity to talk and share what's on her mind so she doesn't keep it inside and worry about it. Such a sad situation!


My difficult child has similiar issues. Growing up there was a neighbor man who he just loved. He was a motorcyle man, beard, tatoo's..actually kind of scary looking. difficult child loved him. He would give him rides around the block on his motorcycle, he would buy him gifts from the motorcycle rides/trips. He would buy him ice-cream when the truck came. The last day of kindergarden the man died in his sleep. I fought over to tell him or not, but didn't want him to hear it from someone else. So, I told him. He didn't eat for 6 weeks. He was so afraid that if he swallowed anything he would choke and die. I brought him to doctors, had a scope done, he was put on Paxil, still would not eat. After 6 weeks of no food, easy child took him to a concert, and they stopped to eat. difficult child ate a french fry. One. And the next day he ate another, and he recovered.
Two weeks ago difficult child had a friend who's mother died from cancer. He seems to be handling that ok. He has not seen her since though. He has eating issues, and I often wonder if it stems back to that first experience.

I wouldn't want your child to hear it from someone else. Ease into the situation and feel out how she does.

Good Luck.


Well-Known Member
I think Im in the camp of telling her closer to when you may be seeing them. I dont think I would tell her right now but maybe a week or two before you might be seeing them. Give her a chance to process the info.

I would also just give her some very basic info...nothing at all tragic. Just something like "honey, your little friend susie had a bad accident and the doctors did all they could to save her but (insert your higher power here) needed her more with him/her so now she is happy playing and watching over everyone."


New Member
I also went through it with easy child. She was about the same age. Several people we knew passed including a neighbor man that lived across the street. Five year olds don't really get it, so they make up their own way. Mine manifested in anger at me. She kept telling me she was going to run away. She didn't really even know that concept either. A friend who is an LICSW told me it's just because she knows that her anger can come out in front of me and I'm not going anywhere. I am also in the camp of telling her closer to the time you would see the family and keep the info to a minimum. If you have trouble the local hospice has coloring books and stuff like that too.
I do know a lady who obsessively reminded her five year old of how her friend died in a train accident. I believe that if the woman had stopped reminding the girl over and over it would have been easier for the child. She still does it today and the girl is 16.