How do I respond to "Is Grandpa gonna die?"


Talking about my boy and emotions... My dad had an accident today. He is fine, but Diego saw me worried. What do you tell him when he asks you if grandpa is okay? If he is going to die? How do I respond in a way that I don't worry him, but also in an honest way? Or even, is it ok to share these situations with him? Another example... He gets very scared when his sister (2 yrs) puts things in her mouth. He has seen me worried, and I have expressed to both that she can choke. Today, he cried in the car when Sofia put a piece of paper in her mouth. How do I handle his anxiety? 


In both of these examples I would first speak to what he is primarily reacting to, which is your feeling state. When he sees you worried and asks about it, you can respond by telling him, "Yes, I do feel scared and little bit sad because I don't like it when my family gets hurt. Just like when you hurt your body. But I will take a deep breath and this feeling will pass." The important message is to let him know he was right in noticing how you were feeling, but also letting him know that you can take care of that feeling and he doesn't have to worry. If his grandpa is in and out of the hospital and he happens to notice - you can let him know that the doctors are checking Grandpa to make sure that his body is working well. When it comes to illness, health, and death I am a strong proponent of explaining to children that we need to care for our bodies so they don't break. This idea you can transfer over to eating to keep our body working, sleeping to keep our body working, exercising to keep our body working. It is a great way to explain health. His anxiety about his sister putting things in her mouth is a valid human response. He understood when you told him that there are choke hazards, and he is at an age that death is a big theme. Show him in the car which things she CAN put in her mouth so he doesn't worry about EVERY single thing she puts in her mouth since that would be too many things, being that she is 2.