Monday, April 09, 2007

Lessons Learned

I guess I should elaborate on my previous post. Last night I made the decision to tell my four year old daughter the truth about the family pet. He didn't just "get out of the gate and we didn't know where he was." I told her that he got out of the gate and got into the road and was hit by a car. Her reaction was far worse than I had imagined. It was, to say the least, hell on me. She was very emotional at first. She cried A LOT. She asked for her daddy. He comforted her. Then she calmed down and the questios began. I though long and hard about the situation most of the night. I got very little sleep wondering if I had made a horrible mistake by telling her at such a young age. But, today I came to the realization that it was the right thing to do. The only regret is that I did it right before bed so it was hard for both of us to fall asleep. She asked lots of questions that made me realize that she could comprehend what was going on. She asked how Jesus got Bingo to heaven. She asked was there blood on Bingo. She asked why someone would just run over her dog, and did they do it on purpose? She asked why the gate was open. She was very inquisitive and that made me very uncomfortable at the time but today as I thought it made me proud! This is something that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life. Unfortunately this is a hard concept to grasp, but we all have to learn it and it doesn't get any easier with age.
The one thing that I can say about this little stretch of parenting is that sometimes the easiest road isn't the right road!
Thanks so much to all of your comments and advice in the previous post. It has helped to get e-mails and comments from my readers, my friends about past experiences. I hope you all have a great week!

6 comments, add yours here:

Vancouver mermaid/Montreal photographer said...

One of the best ways to learn about death is when a pet dies. You have a window of opportunity there to tell her your beliefs about the after life, if any, and to talk about grieving and that it's okay to be missing the one that's not there anymore. Love doesn't just stop at death, and it's a big lesson to learn at any age.

Good luck with everything, hope she deals with it okay.

Shaz said...

I had a similar experience with my eldest daughter & the same dilema as you. I chose the hard road & was so pleased I had as this helped two years later when her paternal Grandfather died. Mind you I then had to battle the family to allow my 7 yr old to go to the funeral. She did go, she did get upset but with dignity. I was so proud of her x

Natalie said...

I think telling her was the right thing to do. You seemed to handle it very well, as did she. She has to learn sometime and I think people owe their children honesty. Then again, maybe when I have some I'll change my tune.

Neila said...

Good for you for telling her the truth! So many parents think they're protecting their children by lying to them, when in fact all they're doing is lying to them. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom she can trust!

I have had a brief death discussion with my son which oddly started with us singing knick knack paddywack. On seven, you paddywack up to heaven. A LONG conversation ensued.

Chris said...

You absolutely did the right thing.

Children are far too intelligent to be lied to about this kind of thing, and it's just about the only certain thing about life.

sybil law said...

Our beloved cat was also run over, and it taught my then 4 year old a big lesson - the first thing she asked was, "You mean he didn't look both ways before crossing the street?". I think you did the right thing.