OMG WTF!11! This is like, a serious post! OMG LOLOLOL!11!!!!one!!
Sorry, the above was for furthering the stereotype of the OOT-lite forum.
Growing up, I was lucky to lose few people in those years when I was old enough to understand death, and young enough to not have sufficient coping abilities.
Before that time, it was either glossed over, or told an amusing tale about a favorite pet going to live on a farm with a nice old lady, or Great-Uncle Homer is sleeping and you should sit down and not wake him up. (Yes, my great-uncle really was named Homer. Matt Groening owes me copyright money or something. :P)
No matter what you believe of what happens after you die, be it Heaven, Hell, Hades, nothing, Nirvana, reincarnation, etc, etc, is telling such things to children acceptable?
I’ve heard of people who believe that no matter how young a child, the truth can be explained in some way, shape or form. But no matter how you explain it, can kids really handle the idea and concept that they’ll never see this person again (with the exception of those who are told that there’s some form of afterlife, in which they’ll see that person again after they themselves die)? Or then opening their eyes to the idea that they themselves may one day die. (And then they get eaten by worms, ew!)
Kids being what they are, when I was told Tasha went to live on a farm and Great-Uncle Homer went away on a vacation and we can visit later… I promptly accepted what was told to me and then just as promptly forgot about the matter, more engrossed with whatever it was at that time I was doing, as most little kids do. (Kids are selfish little parasites, what can I say?)
Personally, I think that when a child is too young handle it (and every child is different in this regard, some children are more childish, some are far more “adult” in their mannerisms and attitude and so can probably handle some watered-down (aka: OOT-lite) version of the truth, or even a more serious discussion (such as children with cancer and other diseases). I don’t think anyone advocates sitting a child down and explaining the biomechanical, chemical and electrical reasons for death instead of the “went to sleep”, “went to Heaven”, “went on a vacation” or the “went to a nice big farm to live with a nice family” discussion.
On the other hand, maybe we should tell them some version of the real truth. We over-protect our youth now a days, to the point that I think we’re hurting them with this overprotectedness (Be it sexual, ethical, moral, educational, real-life, what have you). Should protecting the innocence of children only go so far, until you start hampering their expansion as individual people and their ability to survive in society? (And then you get into the whole discussion over what age a child is responsible enough to learn about all these various things.)
(Arguing my own devil’s advocate here, or at least bringing up a point to ponder: If we did protect ALL children in this manner, then maybe we wouldn’t have 12 year olds getting pregnant and the like, but this would require everyone, everywhere, agreeing to and complying with protecting the innocence of children until they are 16 or some other “adult” age. And then those new young adults would have to agree to do the same thing, in order for this to spread beyond one generation. But that’s a tangent to what my original topic is about.)
And then you run into the problem of parents “protecting” their adult children from the unpleasant things in life depending on their childrens situation. Such as delaying alerting them of a relatives death during their college years, or when they’re job hunting or house hunting, to avoid adding “undue stress” to their lives.
Are they simply doing their parental duty, because we still are their children, and doing what they think is best for us? Or are they really just adding more stress to our lives because not only do we find out our relative is dead, but we miss what closure we may get by attending a funeral or wake or other type of service and family gathering and communal reminiscing about said person.
Personally, I no longer trust my parents to tell me the truth about the health status of my elderly or sick relatives. Not because I think they like lying to me, but twice now they’ve “protected” me by deliberately not alerting me to the demise of a family member and a pet, because they didn’t want to add undue stress to my life.
And this fact in and of itself, that I can’t trust them to tell me the truth about my elderly/sick relatives, adds additional stress to my life (thus negating the supposed original purpose of hiding these pertinent little facts from me). Everytime I ask about a relative and I hear the words, “Oh, they were sick for a little bit”, or “they had to go to the hospital, but they’re alright now”, I wonder what I’m not being told. I wonder if it really is worse than they’re letting on, and by not telling me, they’re denying me the opportunity to spend what more time I can spend with that family member before they’re gone. (On the other hand, shouldn’t I be spending as much time as I can with all my family members, because anything can happen and tomorrow they can all die from a freak accident. Why wait until it’s almost too late to spend time with relatives? Then again.. some relatives are best seen only in short limited time visits so you can leave still loving your family. :)
So, now that I’m done rambling on about one of the varieties of ways parents screw up the psyches of their children, what does anyone else who cares to respond think about “protecting” children from death and its various ramifications? (And feel free to reply to any of the quasi-subjects I hinted at with my random tangents and Sybil-like arguments with myself, too.)
Sorry about the subject title. My imagination ran away with my sanity a little while ago, so I couldn't think of anything catchy and all that fun stuff that should go into titles to make people want to click on them to read what is involved.