My youngest child is 5 years old and he is diagnosed with autism and a new fear he has developed about death and how I should handle it.
He had a dream about 3 months ago where he says he died, and it scared him quite a bit, for weeks after that he would start crying thinking about death and it would take hours of distraction and trying to change the subject, etc to calm him down.
Then my grandpa died, he did not attend the funeral but he knew about it which brought the fear out again even more. He is asking questions about when you die and why, I try to answer with respect to his age and understanding by saying when we get very old this is natural but he doesn't need to worry, and he will say he doesn't want to die, he doesn't want to be gone forever etc. He is also aware that my brother died (from a brain tumor at a young age (32) so when I say people grow old and not to worry he will say your brother died he wasn't old so I say he was sick then it starts again with him saying what if he is sick.
I don't know where this all came from but he is becoming so focused on this, and the anxiety seems pretty high for his age and I just want to see how to handle this because talking it out with him isn't working. 3 times now I have noticed his eyes
were full of tears and he wouldn't tell me why after asking a few times he spelled the word die, so I asked what he means and he starts saying please don't be upset and I go what and he breaks down crying about dying again. The fact he is hiding it and stressing this much I don't want him to feel he cant talk to me ...just feels like I should do something, but I have no idea what. Given the diagnosis of ASD he is becoming a bit obsessive with it that is why I am asking before it gets even more severe.
The fear is worse when he has left our house, if he stays with my parents for a night, or is up at the cottage for days at a time he is always wanting to come home. Even if the entire family is together the fear seems to come out as soon as he gets back to our home (not while he is away) and he will start with I don't want to leave forever and go to heaven, etc.
Any suggestions would be great.