U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Psychology
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-16-2017, 03:25 PM
 
Location: New York Area
22,041 posts, read 8,690,319 times
Reputation: 17249

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
Each of you should read "On Being Mortal"
By who and what's it about?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-16-2017, 04:40 PM
 
1,483 posts, read 1,062,112 times
Reputation: 4969
Quote:
The question I throw out there is, in that kind of situation, when should a son or daughter know what's going on? I did my own reading and came to my own conclusion. Thoughts?
Apologies, I haven't had time to read the other responses to your post, OP. Thought I'd just jump in with my own experience.

My mother died when I was 10. I had three other siblings - two older brothers and a younger (6-year-old) sister. My mother had cancer, and she had been treated for roughly a year before the doctors finally realized that there was nothing they could do to save her. My dad disclosed everything to my older brothers, but to my sister and myself, he said nothing. Even when my mother was hospitalized for the final time, we (my sister and I) weren't allowed to go and visit her. It seems that my dad thought it would be too hard on us (or perhaps, it would have been too hard on him). At any rate, a day or so after she died we knew nothing about it. It was when I was down the street at a friend's house playing, and another neighbour's child showed up and said to me, "I'm sorry about your mom". I responded with "Oh, it's okay" thinking she meant that she was sorry my mom was in the hospital. Oddly though, I had the sense that something was seriously wrong, but pushed that thought away. At the same time a similar incident happened with my younger sister, who was at another neighbour's house. One of the neighbourhood children happened to show up, and, in the bluntly direct way that some children have, he said to her, "Your mom's dead, you know". It was only after my sister and I were home that evening that my dad decided to tell us the truth. And on the day of her funeral, my sister and I weren't allowed to go, with the adults thinking it would be too hard on us. As a result, neither of us had any closure....in fact, for many years, into my adulthood, I fantasized that my mother had simply gone away, and that one day she would come back. That was my way of dealing with the pain.

I think because of this, I am a firm believer that children should not be shielded from the truth. Mind you, telling a child a sobering fact such as a parent is not going to live for very much longer is an extremely tricky thing; one has to be careful how to word things. But it is so important (to me) to keep the children "in the loop" so they will know what to expect, and so they can deal with the loss of that parent effectively, with the help of other loved ones around them. Shielding children from life's painful events is not doing them any favours; when handled properly, being honest and upfront from the beginning, while keeping it all as gentle as possible, is the best thing you can do for a child.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2017, 06:27 PM
 
Location: New York Area
22,041 posts, read 8,690,319 times
Reputation: 17249
Quote:
Originally Posted by bassetluv View Post
Apologies, I haven't had time to read the other responses to your post, OP. Thought I'd just jump in with my own experience.

My mother died when I was 10. I had three other siblings - two older brothers and a younger (6-year-old) sister. My mother had cancer, and she had been treated for roughly a year before the doctors finally realized that there was nothing they could do to save her. My dad disclosed everything to my older brothers, but to my sister and myself, he said nothing. Even when my mother was hospitalized for the final time, we (my sister and I) weren't allowed to go and visit her. It seems that my dad thought it would be too hard on us (or perhaps, it would have been too hard on him). At any rate, a day or so after she died we knew nothing about it. It was when I was down the street at a friend's house playing, and another neighbour's child showed up and said to me, "I'm sorry about your mom". I responded with "Oh, it's okay" thinking she meant that she was sorry my mom was in the hospital. Oddly though, I had the sense that something was seriously wrong, but pushed that thought away. At the same time a similar incident happened with my younger sister, who was at another neighbour's house. One of the neighbourhood children happened to show up, and, in the bluntly direct way that some children have, he said to her, "Your mom's dead, you know". It was only after my sister and I were home that evening that my dad decided to tell us the truth. And on the day of her funeral, my sister and I weren't allowed to go, with the adults thinking it would be too hard on us. As a result, neither of us had any closure....in fact, for many years, into my adulthood, I fantasized that my mother had simply gone away, and that one day she would come back. That was my way of dealing with the pain.
That was not a good way to find out. Similarly my mother told two of my teachers, and they bit their tongue before telling me, during the December 11-14 period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassetluv View Post
I think because of this, I am a firm believer that children should not be shielded from the truth. Mind you, telling a child a sobering fact such as a parent is not going to live for very much longer is an extremely tricky thing; one has to be careful how to word things. But it is so important (to me) to keep the children "in the loop" so they will know what to expect, and so they can deal with the loss of that parent effectively, with the help of other loved ones around them. Shielding children from life's painful events is not doing them any favours; when handled properly, being honest and upfront from the beginning, while keeping it all as gentle as possible, is the best thing you can do for a child.
All children, I believe, need to be told as things are happening but told in different ways. For most people, from 13 on up you should "let it rip" and tell them on a current basis. Younger than that the children probably need to be told in a different manner. For the really young, six or seven and under, perhaps tell them that the person "went to sleep and didn't wake up," and maybe remind them that the person was really tired lately. Or that their heart, stomach, fill in the blank, stopped working. When my maternal grandfather, my favorite grandparent died I was five. I was told he had "gotten very weak and was taken to the hospital to die." I was told that my paternal grandmother's kidney stopped working. I wasn't told that she also had dementia. Over the years to come, by the time I was about 10, I was told what the truth, in one case alcoholism and the other dementia. But in all cases the bottom line should be that the person's dead, once they know what death is.

The problem with my father not being told is that he lost the opportunity to provide for use by selling the business, and to maximize his use of pain killers.

The problem with my not being told is that I didn't get to say goodbye to him, and I spent time worrying about doctor visits and symptoms that just weren't important.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2017, 08:31 AM
 
Location: New York Area
22,041 posts, read 8,690,319 times
Reputation: 17249
Quote:
Originally Posted by coschristi View Post
I am sorry that your mom didn't go to the concert. This must be a hard time of year for you.
Actually she came to the outdoor Holiday Concert outside Scarsdale Village Hall 45 years ago today, December 17, 1972. 17°, strong wind and my tuba valve froze so she didn't hear much.

The rest of the night was difficult. We had dinner at a childhood friend of hers. She wanted me to meet her husband, who she said lost his father when he was young as well. He didn't have much to say; mostly spent the night fighting back tears.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2017, 09:46 AM
 
725 posts, read 317,296 times
Reputation: 2568
These stories are awful. My sympathies to both of you. Bassetluv, your story is heartbreaking. I've heard many stories about different tragedies that when the parent fails to inform their child, an aquaintance fills in that role, which is just wrong on so many levels. Someone I am close to was told they were adopted at 10 by a vindictive vicious nun, and it was true, they were. What a horrible way to find these things out.
Parents hopefully these days are better than this. If they're not, shame on them. Why would a loving parent want to confuse a child? Withholding information, or just plain horrible lack of communication on so many issues, from these big ones to what may seem trivial matters but clear open honest communication is part of educating a child so that they learn to think clearly and wisely for themselves.
A family is as sick as its secrets.
On a lighter note...I burst out laughing when my daughter at age 3 looked me straight in the eye and said, "You're santa, aren't you?"
I then went on with the game, knowing she was wise to it, by taking boots and covering them in fireplace ash and then imprinting footsteps from the fireplace to the tree. She spent the next several years sleeping on the couch in the family room wanting to catch Santa. I was up very late those years until she was soundly asleep. We both knew she was really just trying to catch mom.....
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2017, 11:13 AM
 
3,133 posts, read 4,091,010 times
Reputation: 4131
It's perfectly understandable to feel "lied to" or "belittled" by our parents decision to not include us or tell us of certain events in our lives or the wider world. However, we often tend to think of ourselves as being older than we are when we are kids, and parents often times do know best. Try to have compassion for your mother being where she was: She's losing her closest love and the father of her child, and through the unimaginable grief she is going through personally, she must now face the horrendous task of sitting down with you, her child, and trying to find a way to explain it without you potentially falling apart.

You have kids, imagine how you felt when they were broken up about something. You heart just gives out, and for your mom and any parent I can understand not wanting to go through the double trauma of you personally being in grief but now having to comfort your child. I hope in no way do I sound harsh and my heart goes out to you for your loss. Time doesn't erase all.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2017, 11:39 AM
 
725 posts, read 317,296 times
Reputation: 2568
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shizzles View Post
It's perfectly understandable to feel "lied to" or "belittled" by our parents decision to not include us or tell us of certain events in our lives or the wider world. However, we often tend to think of ourselves as being older than we are when we are kids, and parents often times do know best. Try to have compassion for your mother being where she was: She's losing her closest love and the father of her child, and through the unimaginable grief she is going through personally, she must now face the horrendous task of sitting down with you, her child, and trying to find a way to explain it without you potentially falling apart.

You have kids, imagine how you felt when they were broken up about something. You heart just gives out, and for your mom and any parent I can understand not wanting to go through the double trauma of you personally being in grief but now having to comfort your child. I hope in no way do I sound harsh and my heart goes out to you for your loss. Time doesn't erase all.
Well somebody just let me have it then, I apparently need a good talking to and straightening out.

I view not telling children of life-altering events in their lives as not only dysfunctional, but abusive. Yes, abusive. It's like parents shirking their responsibility, with some old western movie attitude where the characters never talk directly about the issues at hand. "They'll find out somehow", is the attitude, leaving it up to random strangers to tell them something earth shaking like their parent has died (in these cases).

What's not to like about having to comfort your own child and sharing that grief together? What's bad about breaking down in front of your own child over the death or sickness of a spouse and parent, revealing that you too have emotions on the issue, loved that person, are in pain, and are vulnerable to emotion? I vew anything else as abnormal and dysfunctional, hurtful, and causing distrust.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2017, 01:04 PM
 
13,593 posts, read 22,224,588 times
Reputation: 24351
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMansLands View Post
Well somebody just let me have it then, I apparently need a good talking to and straightening out.

I view not telling children of life-altering events in their lives as not only dysfunctional, but abusive. Yes, abusive. It's like parents shirking their responsibility, with some old western movie attitude where the characters never talk directly about the issues at hand. "They'll find out somehow", is the attitude, leaving it up to random strangers to tell them something earth shaking like their parent has died (in these cases).

What's not to like about having to comfort your own child and sharing that grief together? What's bad about breaking down in front of your own child over the death or sickness of a spouse and parent, revealing that you too have emotions on the issue, loved that person, are in pain, and are vulnerable to emotion? I vew anything else as abnormal and dysfunctional, hurtful, and causing distrust.
Today, yes, I agree. But we’re talking 46 years ago. 46 years ago it was a very different time. Children were protected.

And often that didn’t mean discussing things in simple terms, encouraging questions, trying to come to terms with it. It meant ignore the problem and it will go away.

Let’s face it, a lot of people STILL do that.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2017, 01:17 PM
 
Location: New York Area
22,041 posts, read 8,690,319 times
Reputation: 17249
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMansLands View Post
On a lighter note...I burst out laughing when my daughter at age 3 looked me straight in the eye and said, "You're santa, aren't you?"
I then went on with the game, knowing she was wise to it, by taking boots and covering them in fireplace ash and then imprinting footsteps from the fireplace to the tree. She spent the next several years sleeping on the couch in the family room wanting to catch Santa. I was up very late those years until she was soundly asleep. We both knew she was really just trying to catch mom.....
That is beyond hilarious. Last year I asked my children, then 20 and 19, to clean up the reindeer excrement next to the fireplace.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-17-2017, 02:03 PM
 
Location: New York Area
22,041 posts, read 8,690,319 times
Reputation: 17249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shizzles View Post
It's perfectly understandable to feel "lied to" or "belittled" by our parents decision to not include us or tell us of certain events in our lives or the wider world. However, we often tend to think of ourselves as being older than we are when we are kids, and parents often times do know best. Try to have compassion for your mother being where she was: She's losing her closest love and the father of her child, and through the unimaginable grief she is going through personally, she must now face the horrendous task of sitting down with you, her child, and trying to find a way to explain it without you potentially falling apart.

You have kids, imagine how you felt when they were broken up about something. You heart just gives out, and for your mom and any parent I can understand not wanting to go through the double trauma of you personally being in grief but now having to comfort your child. I hope in no way do I sound harsh and my heart goes out to you for your loss. Time doesn't erase all.
The "misrepresentations" or not so white lies went back more than a year. In fact, when she told me about the operation in August 1971 on the ride back home from being dropped off by my sleepaway camp, Mah-Kee-Nac at Adventurers in Queens, she told me about the upcoming operation, but I had to ask "is this cancer." Granted, I was 14 then and a lot less mature. The "sort of" funny thing was that the big hit on the radio at that time was "Take Me Home, Country Roads." One of the lyrics of that song is "driving down the road I got the feeling that I should have been home yesterday, yesterday." Thoughts on the link between music and life posted here, Songs That Haunt and Bring Strong Memories.

My mother, with due respect, should have known better when she finally told me on December 15, 1972. My reaction to the "news," in fact was "tell me something I don't already know," or words to that effect. I did not ask, on December 11, when he was hospitalized, when he was coming home from the hospital or what they were doing for or to him there. When I visited him on December 12 or 13 (I think the latter) his skin was a deep yellow. That told me all I needed to know.

I had done plenty of my own reading. The quality of my questions, lawyer-like even in those days when I was 15, should have made obvious that I already knew what was up. I was sympathetic to my mother, in fact, which was why I did not choose to display being beyond angry at her conduct. One of the reasons I wanted so badly to play in the instrumental "sectional" before the main concert was that I understood what she was going through, though to some extent I think she was more concerned about the loss of financial security than the loss of her husband.

We were and always had been a tight-knit Jewish home where everybody supposedly pretty much knows everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMansLands View Post
Parents hopefully these days are better than this. If they're not, shame on them. Why would a loving parent want to confuse a child? Withholding information, or just plain horrible lack of communication on so many issues, from these big ones to what may seem trivial matters but clear open honest communication is part of educating a child so that they learn to think clearly and wisely for themselves.
A family is as sick as its secrets.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMansLands View Post
I view not telling children of life-altering events in their lives as not only dysfunctional, but abusive. Yes, abusive. It's like parents shirking their responsibility, with some old western movie attitude where the characters never talk directly about the issues at hand. "They'll find out somehow", is the attitude, leaving it up to random strangers to tell them something earth shaking like their parent has died (in these cases).
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMansLands View Post
What's not to like about having to comfort your own child and sharing that grief together? What's bad about breaking down in front of your own child over the death or sickness of a spouse and parent, revealing that you too have emotions on the issue, loved that person, are in pain, and are vulnerable to emotion? I vew anything else as abnormal and dysfunctional, hurtful, and causing distrust.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
Today, yes, I agree. But we’re talking 46 years ago. 46 years ago it was a very different time. Children were protected.

And often that didn’t mean discussing things in simple terms, encouraging questions, trying to come to terms with it. It meant ignore the problem and it will go away.

Let’s face it, a lot of people STILL do that.
I don't think much has changed. My boss and his wife told his then-20 year old son that his wife was fatally ill in 2004 when she had a "Whipple" operation for a cancer akin to both pancreatic and colorectal. But he was basically an adult at that point. What I know of my sons' discussions with their friends during high school is that they didn't always know the details of their parents or siblings illnesses, and we're talking 2012-15.

I think that parents often don't tell for selfish reasons. It's not an enjoyable discussion, obviously. And also, in areas other than where I live (and similar Jewish and upper-middle class suburbs), blended families and single-parent families, often with other relative involvement are the norm.

Last edited by jbgusa; 12-17-2017 at 02:49 PM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Psychology

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top