I Don’t Want To Grow Up, Mommy

what to do when your child doesn't want to grow up, explaining death to children

When your child doesn’t want to grow up, a million thoughts run through your mind. Does my kid have Peter Pan syndrome? Why would she not want to grow up when there are so many things to look forward to? She.is.at.the.beginning.

Her journey has just begun. Every single great thing is ahead of her. Falling in love for the first time. College and all the exploring and growing that comes with it.

Lying blissfully in the arms of her beloved. Her career. Travel and seeing the big wide world with fresh eyes. Freedom to find out who she is. Loving the skin she’s in.

The world is hers to conquer.

I’m in the middle. I’ve done some things but my journey has so many more experiences to explore. The world is mine and I’m ecstatic.

I’m sad she’s growing up but it would be selfish of me to want her to fit in the crook of my neck and to be able to stroke her hair as she falls asleep in my arms forever; though I would, if I could but I want her to live out loud and experience everything. I love her so much that I’ll let go because that’s what good moms do. Right?

But what do you do when your child doesn’t want to grow up?

It’s hard for me to even think about her and her sister not living under my feet. It’s weird to imagine a day when I don’t wake up to one or both of them cuddled into me in the morning. But I know it’s coming, whether I agree with it or not.

But back to my baby, why does she want to stay little? Her answer knocked the wind out of me and all I could do was hug her and let her cry.

She said, “Mama, I don’t want to grow up because that’ll mean you’re getting older and then you’ll die. I don’t want you to die.”

Her logic is accurate. It’s the circle of life, we are born, we live and then we die. But I told her I have no plans of going anywhere anytime soon. I told her that my plan is to live long enough for her and her sister to be so old that they’re getting dementia and they forget who I am. I’ll

I’ll go quietly into that good night then. Until then, I’ve got to make good on my promise to my sweet baby.

What will you say when your child doesn’t want to grow up and has such sound logic to reason it with?

Comments (21)

When my kids were little I had the opposite problem .. they seemed to want to be a million years ahead of where they were. I think I’d tell kids in this situation that there are so many awesome things about growing up! You can travel the world, go to college, get married (or not), live on your own. It’s such a big world out there to go explore x

It’s mostly my youngest. She has had a couple pets die in the past few years, I miscarried and she has a Great grandmother and great Aunt who are both almost 90 so she is acutely aware of death. I do focus on the positive but she still sometimes gets down about aging. We talk it through but it breaks my heart.

Wow! This would be a very had conversation for me to have, but I have talked to my kids about the cycle of life and through our faith we would be together always.

Yes, my girls go to Catholic school and they believe in an afterlife. It doesn’t seem to matter to her when it comes to me. She wants me here with her, she says God can wait. I can’t argue with her. We’ve explained the concept many times and she does believe in it. She just doesn’t accept it as an alternative to here with her. The heart wants what the heart wants and its hard to tell it other wise, especially when its beating in the chest of a 9/10-year-old.

Death is all but natural. My dad used to also tell us about life stages. Everyone goes through each of the stage and it’s a happy feeling to be able to live in the world with your loved ones in each phase or chapter of life.

That is much easier to reason with an adult than with a child who wants her mommy. It’s just something she will have to learn to accept when the time comes. Hoping it’s much later.

Those words are so touching. Your daughter loves you so much she fears losing you to old age. I did not experience that with my kids. They wanted to grow up quick so they can be gainfully employed. They all said the same thing. “When grow up and get a job, Mama, I will spend my first paycheck and take you shopping.” Still good, right? 🙂

That is sweet. The little one promises that she will buy me a house NEXT to hers. But she assures me that when I get “really old” her sister and be in charge if the situation ever warrants that I need help with the facilities. I told her I’ve changed your diaper and wiped your butt for years, you wouldn’t do it for me? To which she responded, Ok, if I have to 😉

WOW, my children were the same way and even now they worry about themselves getting older and that day when I leave this world. Your daughter loves you so much and it’s so beautiful knowing how much our kids really love us. I have taught my children to understand that life changes, as we say circle of life and to know the lord so when that day come they will better understand and I hope feel some comfort of knowing our life and journey has ended. But one day we will all meet again!

It’s very sweet but I worry for her. Not because she won’t be able to handle it when I die, hopefully, she will be an adult. But I just hate that it stresses her out so much now.

My 8 year old said the same thing to me, that he does not want to grow up because he does not want me to get old and die plus adults are boring, no imagination or creativity. He actually cried, nothing I would say comforted him. Explained the stages of life, that’s how God created and how each stage is beautiful in its own way. He still didn’t understand it. It breaks my heart to see him like that! Any other tips would be appreciated!

Just keep doing what you’re doing and give him all the cuddles, hugs and reassurance he needs.

Coming to the realization that when you grow up your parents do as well can be so hard. I know my son has already started at age 7 making comments like this. I just have to keep reminding him all the positives he has to look forward too!

She has been like this since she was 4. that’s when we lost our first dog. It was also the year I miscarried, so it was a lot in a short amount of time and I think it really left an effect.

Awww…Your daughter is such a sweetheart and wise beyond her years. My daughter has always been an observer and a thinker, too. She’s now in college and if she calls home and we don’t answer our phone or text messages, she gets upset. “What if something happened to you?” she’ll say. Then we get lectured on why we should have our phone with us at all times. … Role reversal… lol

That’s sweet and I would not be a bit surprised if my Gabs did the very same thing. If she comes in the room to wake me up and I don’t wake up immediately, she gets freaked out.

Beautiful words….

My kids are the opposite they are already planning what college they want to go to and they are only 8 and 9. I am telling them to slow down and enjoy being kids.

My kids are still very young, but my eldest has plans to get his own house, attached to ours, for everyday visits. We’d also come over to make him breakfast and go to the park. Sounds good to me.

My daughter is 17 and an only child. She is saying she doesn’t want to grow up because I will get old and die and she never wants to be without me. We have had a cat and her grandma pass in the last two years and she suffered a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. But she is fine now. I just don’t know what to say or so to make her feel better. Our dog whom we have had since she was 6, is old and will probably die soon. This will set her back even further. I just don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?

To be honest, it is so hard. I talk to my child a lot. We’ve taken her to family funerals and explained that death is just part of life. We told her that usually when people/pets die it is of old age or sickness. No one likes to see someone they love suffer so we have to think of it as letting them go so that they no longer suffer but can be in peace. Now, all that being said, it is much easier said than done. We’re not perfect. All we can do is teach our children and be there for them when they hurt. One suggestion that you might consider, and one we considered, is visiting a therapist, someone she can talk through her feelings with that can validate her feelings yet at the same time assuage that overwhelming fear of death. Sometimes it is easier when it’s someone the person is not directly known to. Hope that helps. Good luck to you and your daughter. So sorry about the losses. Be well.

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