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No Crybabies
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two boys, one almost 4, and the other 2. We have a large saltwater aquarium at home (brought it home from the office), and one of their favorite fish, a 7" long porcupine puffer, died. He had great big eyes and looked like the baby on family guy, so his name was Stewie.

So, tell the truth to the kids, or tell them he went back to the fish store? They'd believe the latter, as several other fish have had to go back because of incompatibility. Do you think they can handle the truth, or is that one of those things that can weird kids out in ways you won't even know about? Any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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Fixed said:
I have two boys, one almost 4, and the other 2. We have a large saltwater aquarium at home (brought it home from the office), and one of their favorite fish, a 7" long porcupine puffer, died. He had great big eyes and looked like the baby on family guy, so his name was Stewie.

So, tell the truth to the kids, or tell them he went back to the fish store? They'd believe the latter, as several other fish have had to go back because of incompatibility. Do you think they can handle the truth, or is that one of those things that can weird kids out in ways you won't even know about? Any suggestions? Thanks.
truth.
 

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Shirtcocker
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60,639 Posts
Fixed said:
I have two boys, one almost 4, and the other 2. We have a large saltwater aquarium at home (brought it home from the office), and one of their favorite fish, a 7" long porcupine puffer, died. He had great big eyes and looked like the baby on family guy, so his name was Stewie.

So, tell the truth to the kids, or tell them he went back to the fish store? They'd believe the latter, as several other fish have had to go back because of incompatibility. Do you think they can handle the truth, or is that one of those things that can weird kids out in ways you won't even know about? Any suggestions? Thanks.
unless they are really sensitive I'd tell them the truth. Explain how fish don't live as long as people...heck...tell them that the fish went to heaven if that makes them feel better about it.

// your 2 and 4 year old watch Family Guy? That can be a really nasty show!
 

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goodbye fraudriguez
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Truth?

Bocephus Jones II said:
unless they are really sensitive I'd tell them the truth. Explain how fish don't live as long as people...heck...tell them that the fish went to heaven if that makes them feel better about it.

// your 2 and 4 year old watch Family Guy? That can be a really nasty show!
Are you saying that you believe in heaven? (he is supposed to tell them the truth right?) :D

Truth.
 

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Palm trees & sunshine!
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Fixed said:
I have two boys, one almost 4, and the other 2. We have a large saltwater aquarium at home (brought it home from the office), and one of their favorite fish, a 7" long porcupine puffer, died. He had great big eyes and looked like the baby on family guy, so his name was Stewie.

So, tell the truth to the kids, or tell them he went back to the fish store? They'd believe the latter, as several other fish have had to go back because of incompatibility. Do you think they can handle the truth, or is that one of those things that can weird kids out in ways you won't even know about? Any suggestions? Thanks.
My 7 y/o has been to about a half dozen funerals so far, the last one when she was 5 or so. We explained death to her then, openly and honestly. As best as I can tell, she "got it" and doesn't have any problems with it.

/I won't let her watch Family Guy though, and she wants to watch it in a big way.
 

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Shirtcocker
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mountaineer said:
Are you saying that you believe in heaven? (he is supposed to tell them the truth right?) :D

Truth.
Doug does I think...and who knows...if there is a heaven why wouldn't animals get to go as well. I think that's a benign enough white lie assuming you believe in Heaven yourself.
 

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goodbye fraudriguez
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Bocephus Jones II said:
Doug does I think...and who knows...if there is a heaven why wouldn't animals get to go as well. I think that's a benign enough white lie assuming you believe in Heaven yourself.
I was just being the "devil's advocate" (no pun intended).

Yes, I do believe in Heaven.
 

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Shirtcocker
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mountaineer said:
I was just being the "devil's advocate" (no pun intended).

Yes, I do believe in Heaven.
I think the official church answer to that is no though--animals don't have a soul.
 

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goodbye fraudriguez
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Bocephus Jones II said:
I think the official church answer to that is no though--animals don't have a soul.
I don't always follow "official church policy". That is an institution that is often times as much a part of the problem, as it is part of the solution.

Sorry to hijack the thread.
 

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Scary Teddy Bear
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Yep..

KenB said:
My 7 y/o has been to about a half dozen funerals so far, the last one when she was 5 or so. We explained death to her then, openly and honestly. As best as I can tell, she "got it" and doesn't have any problems with it.

/I won't let her watch Family Guy though, and she wants to watch it in a big way.

Tell the truth, kids are more understanding than you might think, plus they can usually tell if you're lying, whether they let on or not.
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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mtneer et. al, i don't believe. and i would never tell my kid that. i'd just say they kicked off.

truth is truth. kicked off is like a half-truth, if you're into the afterlife stuff.

but it's part of any truth.

fishy be gone. his body quit working. etc etc.

been through the same recently.

the ex-wife told my kiddo they (3 guppies) went to the fishy graveyard in the porcelain convenience.

etc etc.

good on her.
 

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goodbye fraudriguez
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371 Posts
haiku d'etat said:
mtneer et. al, i don't believe. and i would never tell my kid that. i'd just say they kicked off.

truth is truth. kicked off is like a half-truth, if you're into the afterlife stuff.

but it's part of any truth.

fishy be gone. his body quit working. etc etc.

been through the same recently.

the ex-wife told my kiddo they (3 guppies) went to the fishy graveyard in the porcelain convenience.

etc etc.

good on her.
I wasn't advocating telling the children that the fish went to Heaven. But tell them that it died is correct, like you said.
 

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Shirtcocker
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mountaineer said:
I wasn't advocating telling the children that the fish went to Heaven. But tell them that it died is correct, like you said.
Yeah I'd never say heaven to my kids...but I know Doug is religious and if it helps get the kids through the night then WTF.
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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mountaineer said:
I wasn't advocating telling the children that the fish went to Heaven. But tell them that it died is correct, like you said.
word. we're on the same page. thanks!!!!!!!!
 

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goodbye fraudriguez
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371 Posts
Watch a movie.

Maybe let them watch the lion king. This addresses the concept of animal mortality ( the circle of life).
 

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No Crybabies
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just might do that.

They haven't noticed. When they do, I think the first response will be "he's not with us any more." If they press, I'll say he died, as fish don't live long like we do."

Don't think I'd go with the animal heaven thing. It's a hard enough concept as it is.

Thanks, everyone. I'll report back what happens.
 

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Coco Puff
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Just tell your kids the fish died cuz they wouldn't eat their vegetables... So they better eat their vegetables, otherwise....


only kidding

My son's turtle died, unfortunately while he and his mother were away for a week. I didn't even know the thing had kicked, cuz it was alive the last I looked at it. So he comes home and finds the turtle 'sleeping'. uh, this was awkward...
 

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Banned
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FWIW, a vote for truth. No reason to mystify death

My kids are well past that age--about 20 years past--but it seems to me there's nothing to be gained by euphemisms or, uh, fibs. Death (here comes the cliche) is a part of life, and helping them begin to understand that now, in a gentle and matter-of-fact way, may begin perparing them for the day when grandparents or others die.
At least in my experience, a lot of their reaction depends on your attitude. Age-appropriate, simple explanations would be my choice.
 

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imbasilical moreon
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answer 1 question at a time .....

Fixed said:
Just might do that.

They haven't noticed. When they do, I think the first response will be "he's not with us any more." If they press, I'll say he died, as fish don't live long like we do."

Don't think I'd go with the animal heaven thing. It's a hard enough concept as it is.

Thanks, everyone. I'll report back what happens.
once they notice they will ask....wait until then......answer with short simple answers, like "Stewie died"
you'll prolly get an "ok" ..... {they watch Animal Channel and stuff, they prolly see creatures die} ...then wait for the next question ....

the 4 yr old will prolly come back later with a follow up question ...use the same approach

remember 2 yr olds and 4 yr olds live pretty much "in the moment" ... the way you answer - confident & kindly, composed, empathetic - will have more to do with their reaction / acceptance than the peripheral issues adults tend to drag into situations like this ...it will also teach them how to react to death in the future .... to little kids, animals are creatures just like us ... if they want to think Stewie went to heaven, then fine ...leave it at that.....

you'll prolly get another follow up in 2 years :D
 
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