My 7 year old grandson has recently been talking a lot about death. Recently while on a plane he said to me "the plane is going to crash and we are all going to die". He also says things like "If you don't wear your seat belt in the car you will fall out and the cars will crush you and you will die and they will take you to the graveyard". Again this morning he told me that he doesn't want to be dead and the other day he asked his mother why we have to die?Is this kind of morbid fascination with death normal for a child of his age?
I don't think it is a morbid fascination as much as a child verbalising his fear. He is working through fear by talking about it. Be calm and matter-of-fact in response to it. For example, if it is the seat belt thing, just assure him that you all have your seat belts on, and you are all safe. Calm his fear without dismissing it. Point out lots of old people, and go to the airport and watch planes disembark their passengers, so he can see that it is not inevitable that death will happen. If he says he doesn't want to die, etc, tell him he won't, and remind him of something coming up like a birthday, so he can look into a future that is not as threatening. It is a hard subject to deal with, because, really, we don't know if we are telling the truth and kids can pick up on that.
My son at 4.5 is doing the same thing.. he picks up alot of it from hearing the news and seeing advertisments on the TV. It is a natural progression and you have to be sure to talk to them openly about all that is available to keep us safe.
Dig up statistics and facts and maybe even get a pilot or police officer to talk to your kid about how seatbelts and various feature keep you safe so that the bad stuff does not happen. After all, it is not the seatbelt that prevents you from falling out of the car (except during a crash).. it is choosing to stay in your seat with the seat belt on and not openning the door and jumping out of a moving car into traffic that keeps you safe. Your child seems to be reaching that level of awareness where you can discuss wise choices that will help promote safe habits in the future: from everything from drugs to strangers to automobile safety.
I would not see this as a bad thing, but natural and good. I have had to tell my husband that the violence in the news is not suitable to watch in front of our preschooler, he picks up on so much (my son not necessarily the hubby).. and it is hard to answer my sons questions on murder, abortion (ugh that one was diverted for the time being), war, and untold other subjects bandied about over and over in the news these days.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.
The only time our kids ever mention death is while playing. I'm not entirely sure where it came from, but they (they're 4.5 and 3 y/o) sometimes say that one of the Barbies or dinosaurs, for example, 'died'.
I'm sure they don't entirely graps the concept, but instead have - as someone else mentioned, I believe - picked up the term from overheard conversations/TV news/etc, and are interjecting it into their play.
Along these lines, I know a child that is roughly 7 years old and constantly talks of death. Looking back this became an emerging concern roughly 2 years ago and this individual has only seemed to become more preoccupied over the last few years. I have been very concerned with what he says to other kids around him. For example, he onced asked "what would happen to so and so if they fell off this balcony". He asks other kids to play games where they pretend they are dead, he discusses how people die and recently said "I had a dream last night that so and so drowned". As another example, a group of kids were playing the other day and I noticed he walked out of the room with a baby doll. I asked who do you have there and he said "oh that's the dead baby brother". As a concerned parent and friend, the parents do not seemed too alarmed by this behavior, whereas I and others are alarmed and believe counseling may be in order. Is this an overreaction? Could this somehow be construed as semi-normal behavior in any way, shape or form? Looking for any guidance/experiences with this type of behavior.
My son (who is 13) is obsessed with those "End of the World" programs on TV. He seriously believes the Myan calendar is predicting the end of the world in 2012. He constantly talks about disasters and loves Mothman (a harbinger of doom)-that was my fault, actually. I love cryptozoology.
He's not suicidal or anything. He is just fascinated with the life-death cycle. He is a realist and knows everything eventually ends.
I think if your son starts talking about harming others or himself that its a cause for concern. I think death is a natural process and I don't think its alarming that kids are willing to face the facts head-on.