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63

As far as working on a eliciting a reaction goes, if she seems to be coping ok and there aren't any other behavior / mood changes to indicate problems, I wouldn't worry about it. Everyone handles grief and mourning differently, both in the how and the when. She may have handled it on her own in private sometime. She just may not need a full blown crying ...


44

I cannot really give first-hand advice, never having been in a similar situation. However, I would think the basic approach should be the same as for an adopted child. Basically: don't push information on the child she is not ready to handle, but don't make it a secret either There are multiple questions about how to handle adoption on this site, for ...


31

To directly answer your question: if the topic comes up a potentially good answer would be "well my father/husband passed away a long time ago". The "a long time ago" basically indicates that this is in the past and has no immediate bearing on the present. It also indicates that the case is closed and you don't want to discuss this further. Most people will ...


27

Your second wife is your daughter's mom. She's all that your daughter has ever known. She's just 3 years old, and this stability (mom & you) is important to her. You don't have to be the biological mother to be a mom to a child. We had some family skeletons that we disclosed to our daughter in part when she was about 12/13. At that point, she was ...


22

My biological father died when i was an infant, and my mom remarried before I knew any difference. They told me about this when I was somewhere between 6 and 8 years old. I might even have started to suspect something, since my new dad is a very big man and so was my little brother, but I am a smaller guy (even at that age you can notice, and the adults who ...


20

It's possible that she is just being dramatic and doesn't actually intend to hurt herself. If so, great, but there's likely still some truth to what she said: she feels like she isn't getting attention, and/or she feels like she isn't valued and loved. The fact that she's been increasingly sensitive to criticism indicates this if nothing else. However, it's ...


20

When all else fails, they can fall back on a version of Miss Manner's timeless response, "I'm sorry, that's just not possible." In this case, something along the lines of "I'm sorry, I don't want to talk about it," or "This subject is still painful for me, can we talk about something else?" might be useful. Don't expect everyone to have manners and not ...


19

A little about myself... My Mom married my Dad when I was 5. At 12, she revealed to me that he wasn't my biological father. It was absolutely traumatic and devastating. It felt like my life was a lie. It felt like I was a lie, a fake, a sham of a person. No young person should ever have to feel this way. If you tell your child the truth now, while they're ...


19

It will totally be your own judgement here. I would take my children. I take them already to the nursing home to just visit people. Old people, even those without much faculty left, often love small children. I have no fear of old people & have always adored them. My mother took us all often to visit a number of relatives in various homes & I ...


17

I understand death of a parent can happen to any child, but is it right to pretend we don't know what's coming? Unless your kids are incredibly dense, they are going to figure it out sooner or later, and probably sooner. The only question is where are they going to get their information from. I was diagnosed with MS two years ago when my kids were 7, 6, ...


13

I have no idea what any kind of "best" action could possibly be. What I would want to make sure of is that no matter what interaction I have with my kids about the death of their other parent I want to be clear what is happening inside me (and deal with that) from what is happening inside them (and help them deal with that). They are two different aspects of ...


12

Few studies have been done on this topic, and mostly the papers written on it have emphasized the destructive consequences of not telling children the whole truth promptly after death. Mostly those studies were done in the 60s and 70s, at a time when it was quite common not to tell children, and the damage done includes distorted mourning processes and ...


12

As an adult you may be comfortable saying, "It's not something I like to talk about," but this will be a harder line for your children to say and stick to when pressed. You might suggest to them to say, "He had some health issues I don't really understand." This is the truth, as someone who commits suicide has serious mental health issues and no one can ...


12

You tell her when the opportunity arises naturally. For example, your daughter may see a pregnant woman, or you and your wife may be planning on having children together. When this occurs, your daughter will almost certainly ask a question like, "Did I grow in your tummy too, mommy?" At that point you or your wife simply say, in a matter-of-fact way, "No, ...


12

I don't know if now or later would be the best time to tell the truth, but you do need to tell her eventually since it's something that's going to be nearly impossible to keep hidden forever. If you decide not to tell her now: Make sure you have a plan to tell her at some point in the future (eg when she becomes an adult), and an explanation for why you ...


11

In my opinion, "sealing the bedding with a strong polythene sheet" presents a significant risk of suffocation -- not SIDS, just plain asphyxiation. Most infant mattresses are deliberately covered with a mesh webbing underneath the cotton surface with the explicit purpose of allowing the baby to breathe even if it turns face-down during sleep. Try it for ...


11

My dad died 3 years ago from cancer, I was 24 at the time. Let me first say that it sucks, and I feel for you, but you don't need to be told that! I was lucky in a sense, because my mother-in-law (I got married a week after he passed away; it was a busy time in my life!) also lost her dad early in life, and she helped me figure out what I needed to do. ...


10

Above all, be honest. Tell your children the basics Use matter-of-fact language Be open to their questions Use language that they'll understand I know this isn't easy, but it will help them prepare for the future if you help them understand as best you can. Children can be remarkably resilient, and the trust you build with them through honesty will be ...


10

This is a good age to start an ongoing discussion of death. If you're fearful of doing so, she will pick up on the negative emotions (aside from bereavement) surrounding the topic, which would be unfortunate. The desire to protect a child from the subject is understandable, though. Children begin to understand death around 4 years of age, but have a lot of ...


9

I am not an expert, but would like to supply some resources that you might find helpful at the website of the American Association of Suicidology. It has: a Suicide Loss Survivors page with a lot of great resources on it. links to support groups in each State (not sure if you are in the States) a monthly newsletter (which may help you feel not so alone ...


9

I was a depressed child. I didn't like myself much until I was in college. Childhood depression is often ignored and marginalized but it is still real depression (people often minimize it- suggesting that children never have anything to feel depressed about as they have few responsibilities and are given a lot of indulgences). What I would do if I were in ...


9

in other circumstances, I feel compelled to tell him, "Zombies are not real, your brother is just trying to scare you, it's time to go to bed." Second part first. Yes, you should try to convince him that zombies aren't real, but it probably won't take. It certainly doesn't hurt to try. It doesn't matter what he's afraid of (the monster under my bed was ...


9

I'm going to draw an analogy from Monsters, Inc. The monsters in the movie scare kids in order to make power for their city. One such monster, Sulley, is the best scarer around. He never has any qualms with scaring these human kids, until one comes into his life that he begins to care about. He names the child Boo. As soon as this happens, his friend ...


8

We adopted my son Michael out of foster care, which is a completely different situation, but also has a certain stigma attached. People want to know how he ended up in foster care. What we tell people is that is Michael's personal information to share or not share as he chooses, and that we will let him make that decision for himself when he is fully ...


8

Ask her why she said that. I agree with (and upvoted) all of Erica's thoughts as good advice generally in this situation, but I think the first thing to do is ask her why she said those things. I like Erica's advice in how to do it, too, but make sure you stick with it and make her feel safe about answering the question. My daughter did something similar ...


8

I think this depends on the child. For my older son (also 3, and recently went through a Ghosts stage), who's fairly intelligent and straightforward, I would approach this intellectually. I would certainly not be inconsistent about it, whatever you do. If you're alternating "playing zombie" with "zombies aren't real", you're going to confuse him; while ...


8

Your daughter needs a positive differentiating term for each of the two women. Much like you introduced the your name as either "Dad", "Father", "Papa", or "Daddy" to your daughter, she will need something like "Mom", "Mother", "Mommy" for the 2 women. Recommend emphasizing the endearment "Mom" for the second wife and "mother" for the original. Daughter ...


8

I had this problem when I was 8 and still kind of do. I'm not religious like her, and my mom is religious (buddism) like you. (sorta) The scariest part of death for me when I was that young was, I'll be there to comfort my parents when they die, but who would be there to comfort me? I was the youngest in my family, so I always felt like I'd die last. It ...


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