My Daughter Has Fear of Dying

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Helping Her Cope

It's not your job to talk your daughter out her fear of death and dying, but you can help her learn how to manage her fear. In this regard, using your faith and its beliefs on death and dying as a means for consoling her makes perfect sense. The faith-based response is probably one that she'll be able to process. Telling her (as you have done), "When you die you'll go to heaven and you be won't be alone, but with others," may give her some comfort. However, don't expect her to say, "Okay, I get it. Now I'm not worried any more." It will take her time to overcome this fear. You may think that avoiding the topic of death would be the best way to go, but it's not. You will help your daughter if you embrace the topic, and provide her with information to help her address any questions she has. You can also arm her with skills to help her feel safe in the world. Give her a whistle that she can wear around her neck during the day and keep by her bed at night. When she is frightened or feels in danger, teach her to blow the whistle. You can also enroll her in a self-defense class. Karate and similar martial arts classes help children build up their confidence and give them a sense of being self-sufficient. I would also suggest locating the book, Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child, by Earl A. Grollman (Beacon Press, 1991). Not only does this book nicely address the topic, but it's written so that parents and children can read it together. Eventually, your daughter will overcome her fear. Providing her with constructive information will empower her to overcome this fear on her own. Knowledge is power, and it's better to face this fear head on then to try to sweep it under the rug of childhood.


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