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comment by diogeneslantern
diogeneslantern  ·  2306 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Who is allowed at a death watch?

I don't think anyone should be excluded from death watch and age shouldn't factor at all. I think there's something to be said about people's fear of death and how Western culture stigmatizes it. Other cultures have treated death very differently; tribes in the New Guinea famously ate their loved ones, while others brought relative's bodies out on holidays to eat with them at feasts. Yes, it can be painful losing a friend or relative, but it's natural and inevitable. While I don't endorse cannibalism or holding onto bodies, our extreme aversion to death and the dying borders on emotionally unhealthy and dictates that death is a traumatizing experience to be avoided at all costs.

The following is anecdotal, but was a primary influence on my view. When I was three my brother died. My parent's initially thought this would be too damaging for me to cope with and didn't allow me to visit him after his accident or attend his funeral. While I struggled with why he disappeared this did some serious, but temporary, damage that manifested into emotional issues and a severe stutter. About a year later they took the time to explain why he was gone and the concept of death, this was a powerful moment that I still remember vividly -- everything made sense. The other issues resolved themselves, but what I learned was that it wasn't death that was traumatizing, but how everyone regarded it.

nowaypablo  ·  2304 days ago  ·  link  ·  

First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your brother, if I could fathom that sort of experience I would offer a bit more in condolence, but I don't so I'm at least glad you have resolved the impacts of that in yourself.

    Yes, it can be painful losing a friend or relative, but it's natural and inevitable.

This is very, deeply, painfully true. However, just like your parents I don't believe any conscientious parent would want to expose their child-- doesn't even matter how young-- to a loss like death be it in the family or not. Your parents made an understandable and well-meaning decision to shelter you from the event of your brother's death. They could not foresee the consequences on you or how you would try to make sense of it in a mature way, moreover how trying to do so would impact you personally over time.

I don't think I would let my kid see someone die. I also wouldn't forgive myself if I justified letting him stay at a death watch as some sort of lesson for life or manliness. There are some headstrong, intelligent, and wise adults I know that came from various parts of the Middle East as actual child refugees, of war and poverty and the like. Some of them experienced death close-up and first-hand. They all claim it stayed with them forever and is a strong internal guide, an invaluable experience in the end. None of them felt it was something they would want anyone else to experience.

_refugee_  ·  2304 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    None of them felt it was something they would want anyone else to experience.

Well, yeah, sure. No one wants people to have to experience bad things in life (generally speaking). That does not have any impact on the fact that everyone has to.

Do you also plan on hiding rape, murder, war, and crime from your child? Will you not let them read the newspaper or hear the TV? Will you refuse to discuss current events in front of them? Have you considered that hiding the bad things from a child might result in the child being unable to cope with them later in life, blind-sided by situations that they were never raised to be prepared for despite the fact that they are common occurrences?

For the record I have very strong opinions on whether children should be exposed to "bad" or "adult" stuff that stem from my own experiences where my parents tried to "protect" me by not informing me of certain dangers and I ended up unprepared for those situations when they began to occur in high school and college.

I think kids are pretty resilient creatures and I don't think you're giving them as a whole or as a class the benefit of the doubt here.

I also think that you, OftenBen and I are speaking a bit out of depth across the board as, well, we be child-free.

nowaypablo  ·  2304 days ago  ·  link  ·  

ok ok please don't get me wrong. The thing here is that experiencing those things are important, yes, and they are valuable to the character of those who have experienced them personally-- we're making a distinction between reading the paper and sitting in at death watch/witnessing war-- but as a parent I still would find it my responsibility to protect my child from it.

It's not that my son should not understand and witness that. It's a selfish instinct, understand, to say "I grew up in the shitter of Earth, and I fought my way and sacrificed my childhood to get out of warzone X, so I could marry a lovely woman and raise my beautiful boy in a safe and clean suburb in NJ."

The last thing 'I' want is to let my son see a loved one die at 12 years old like 'I' did back in warzone x. Even if it makes him a strong and mature man.

edit: That said. I will not be so ignorant as to stop my kid from finding any resources and information on his own. If he wants to read the NYTimes, I'll buy him the paper and get a subscription of the Economist too, have talks with him about current events and politics the way I wish my dad did.

Never would I dare stop my kid from chasing his curiosity until it gets so far he learns the sense to distinguish his own boundaries. If he's in high school and decides he wants to enlist in the army or the navy or go back to Armenia and serve the draft, I wouldn't hold him back because if he goes and fucks up that failure is a lesson for him to learn on his own. But I will not willingly expose him to death without his complete and full understanding of what it is and how he is/is not prepared to handle it. That's on me when he's 12. Not him.

_refugee_  ·  2304 days ago  ·  link  ·  

True I often go "slippery slope."

For me the crux of the issue, as I said in another comment, is that I don't know if I would be able to live with myself as a parent if I prevented my child from being able to give a loved one a final goodbye, and I'd be worried about the potential of resentment over this over time.

I think a case-by-case approach is probably most appropriate. For the record, you also compared wanting to be at a death watch to wanting a gun...and those are very drastically different things too :)

nowaypablo  ·  2304 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hm, you're right about the final goodbye. I'm not sure.

Yeah my comparisons are wild but I'm sorta spanning the whole spectrum of 'heavy'/traumatic experiences for examples. It is probably personal and case-by-case as you said. I get over-zealous in the morning :'(

diogeneslantern  ·  2293 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Appreciate the kind words!