Thursday, January 14, 2016

When Little Ones Understand Death is Irreversible

Ever had a good intention that ended up being really sour? Mid November we sat down to let the kids watch Song of the Sea. It's an internationally acclaimed children's movie chronicling the adventures of a brother - sister duo, based on an Irish folklore about selkies. Winner right? That would be a resounding NO!

It's not your typical Disney animation. In fact, it could be interpreted by little eyes as a little spooky. Throw in a few scary situations, eerie music and the death of the siblings' mother and you have a combined disaster. Seven year old Stinky was pretty upset at the end, but quickly got over it. Six year old Blinky however cried hysterically for days and feared that the DH or I would die like the Mom in the movie. Of course we reassured her (as best we could) that nothing would happen and she didn't need to be worried. Slowly she began to believe us.

Just a few weeks later, we saw The Good Dinosaur over Thanksgiving Break, which I wrote about here. Yeah, total setback. With the exception of the week we were on vacation and she was bunking with my Mom, she has not been sleeping well, often coming into our bed. She has also had moments of sadness at random times throughout the day at home, school and ballet. After talking with her teacher, I reached out to a family counselor who reassured us that after she's had sufficient time to process death being irreversible, these solemn moments will pass. And of course we will keep reassuring her how much she is loved and that by the grace of God Mommy and Daddy aren't going anywhere.

The DH and I sure know how to pick 'em. We feel pretty rotten about traumatizing the kids in spite of thinking we had properly screened the movies. However we did better the third time around with Alvin and the Chipmunks Road Trip over Christmas Break. Total score!

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