...because we all have our motley moments!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Help! I need advice!

After witnessing his granddad have what looked like a stroke at the lunch table on Wednesday and the frantic call to 911, I was worried about how our 5 1/2 year-old son was processing everything. He hadn't really said much about it at all. He and I were having some bonding time together reading books and watching "So You Think You Can Dance" later that evening when we talked about it:

Me: "How did you feel about what happened to Pop Pop today?"

His answer: "I felt mean."

Me: "You felt mean?"

Him: nods

Me: "What do you mean, "you felt mean?"

Him: "I felt mean because I couldn't stop it."

Me, trying to hold back the tears for his sake: "Honey, Mommy, Daddy and Grammy were there, too. We're grown-ups and we couldn't stop it either. We just all helped in our own special ways until the ambulance got here to help Pop Pop. Mommy called 911. Daddy checked Pop Pop's breathing and heart beat, Grammy talked to Pop Pop, and You showed Pop Pop your beautiful drawing to help him smile. Then you went out and watched for the ambulance. When the ambulance pulled away, we prayed for Pop Pop, remember? We all did what we could to help, but nobody could have stopped it from happening."

I'm not sure how to help him through all this, but I think talking about it helps. I never expected him to say he felt mean (responsible). He really took it all on himself and never said a word until I asked him about it. Since then, he's had some angry outbursts over little things: a painting that didn't turn out the way he wanted, he refused to go to his children's program, then he got sulky and mad when we had to leave a friend's house after lunch (even though I gave plenty of warning). I think I need to come up with some ways to give him more control, but still stick to the schedule as much as possible. Any ideas?

He loves to do art, and I know therapists often use art as a tool to get kids talking, but I don't know how. Does anyone know of a good book or have some advice for us on how to handle this?


Lindsay said...

I think just talking about it and explain life's hard lessons (we all must die someday....) is really all you can do. Having him draw about it is great but it's really just something that kids have to learn. Bad stuff happens sometimes that is beyond our control. But even we feel helpless God is always there. Something we all just have to face and process it in our own way. And of course praying with him and for him is the best "medicine" ever.

I will say a prayer for your family also.

Pam said...

Hey Donna, I don't have any good advice on this one, but you are all in my thoughts. Good luck.

Liz said...

Poor kiddo. No advice here, either, but I will say a prayer for him, and you. And Pop-Pop and well, everyone.

Maria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria said...

This is a complex issue. I would recommend going to the Focus on the Family website and look under the parenting tab, then go to Your Child's Emotions. I saw "How to Help Your Child Grieve" and thought that could be a start.

Thinking of you... :)

Donna said...

Thanks for the comments, prayers, and advice, girls! Like Fawnda, I truly treasure the connection we have here on Motley Moms. I thought I was going to take the summer off, but I missed writing and commenting after just a few days of going "offline."

We're seeing some improvements in KID 1, and we think it helps to keep him engaged in plenty of physical activity to keep his mind on positive things. Various conversations have come up this week centered around the death theme ("Mommy, I don't want you, or Daddy, or Emma, or me to ever, ever die.") It's on his mind, but our faith gives us the responses he needs to hear.