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OT: At What Age is "Peter Rabbit" Appropriate for Kids?

My child is nearly three, and my mom is visiting. Yesterday I was enjoying her babysitting services, and overheard her reading this book close to bedtime. I had forgotten the exact storyline, but it defintiely got me thinking about what age to begin to introduce ideas of death to a kid. At one point in the story, Peter Rabbit is running from the farmer, and gets caught on a fence, and starts crying thinking he is "lost". I asked my mom if that was an appropriate book, and she thought that it was not a problem at all. What do you all think?

Mon. Oct 9, 9:31am

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My kid was watching Charlotte's Web at that age, and it certainly provoked some discussion. But I see that as a constructive thing. Death takes a while for a kid to understand, but it's such a basic part of life that I don't think you can (or should) hide it.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 9:51 AM

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i actually had this death and children conversation with a friend a few years ago. we assumed that death is something which you come to understand gradually. otherwise, wouldn't you remember that tragic day when you suddenly understood it? i don't ever remember one day standing out where i suddenly realized that everyone, including myself, would die. i don't know anyone else who had a sudden eye-opening experience about it either. it has got to be something you understand gradually.

i'm sorry, i know that doesn't answer the OP's question. but i think that stories such as peter rabbit are ways to ease children into the idea of death. morbid, i know, but i think children would rather be exposed to death for the first time in that way than at a relative's funeral when they're older.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 12:43 PM

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i am 37. i saw bambi when i was about 5. i have never forgotten the killing of bambi's mother. i think learning about death as a result of a story about a person who kills an animal is pretty harsh. it's more a lesson in murder than in natural death. but i do think learning about death through a stroy about a person or animal who dies as a result of an illness or old age would be advantageous when an actual death occurs in the child's circle of family and friends.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 12:53 PM

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to 12:53 from 12:43. i totally agree with you. i didn't specify the difference between stories about "nice" deaths and those with violent deaths. i'm 27 now and still can't watch bambi! but i also think that seeing it in images on tv is much more realistic, even as a cartoon, than reading it in a book, even with pictures. hopefully children's book illustrators don't show horrible death pictures. maybe that's just because i'm very visual. but i have also seen tough consequences from explaining death as being sick or falling asleep. i've seen kids who think that they are at the doctor's office because they are dying. or they're afraid to go to sleep because they might not wake up. i don't know the right answer here, i'm just putting everything out there.

still on the subject but a little out there - for school-age kids, how do you explain things like the amish school shooting? i know you can shelter young kids from the news, but eventually they get information from other sources as well.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 1:04 PM

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OT: At What Age is "Peter Rabbit" Appropriate for Kids?

Since time immemorial the best loved children's stories like Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Bambi, The Lion King etc., have been laced with death, loss and gore. Peter Rabbit's traumas are, perhaps, a little premature for a two and a half year old kid. Ultimately, I feel these stories are more about the triumph of good over evil. The bad fairy never wins.

Monday, October 09, 2006, 11:47 PM

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