Question:

Good morning.

I have a few questions I am needing guidance on. My mother passed away a year ago. Then close to her one year, my grandmother passed away. I have a 4-year-old son who is struggling hard. We are a church family but now he does not want to go to church ever and he blames God for taking his MiMi. I have tried everything to talk to him to help him process the loss. In church Sunday, the preacher said that he loved God. My son's quick answer was "I don’t. I hate God." I need advice on what to say to him to help him understand.

Thank you.

Answer:

Most 4-year-olds don't have a large vocabulary in which to express themselves. Nor do they grasp the subtleties of what is told them. Often adults use indirect terms to discuss uncomfortable subjects. Thus, we say things like "Grandma passed on," or "She's asleep in Jesus," or "God took her." I suspect something like the last phrase is what your 4-year-old latched onto in a very literal way.

Fortunately, a four-year-old will not remember most things if he is not constantly reminded of his fears.

"God took way MiMi."

"Yes, I miss MiMi too. What do you remember about MiMi?"

(Whatever your son remembers.)

"I remember how much MiMi loved God. I know she is happy to be in heaven. One day we will get to go and live with MiMi and God if we are good like MiMi was."

Instead of getting upset by how a young child expresses himself, answer what he is trying to express. Reinforce the lessons you want him to learn.

"I hate God!"

"That's strange because God loves you even more than mama loves you.

"God took away my MiMi!"

"Yes, MiMi has died. It makes me sad too. But she now gets to live with God and be happy. While I am sad, I am glad she is happy. One day you and I will get to see MiMi again and then we all live together in God's home."

Keep the answers direct and simple, but always guide the conversations toward better ways to see what has happened and help him see the hope of joy in the future.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email