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Answers for Kids
Q: I have a question, How can you hold so many feelings inside knowing that you really need to let it out but you cant? And something stopping you but you dont know who to turn to for  a shoulder so you can cry on.
A:

Hi, friend,

This is really pretty normal for being human. Sounds like what you need is a safe place, a safe shoulder. We can offer you that here in our group, k2k, where kids can talk to kids, all of whom know what it's like to need someone who cares. Just click here to join, and you'll be in on the conversations there

with caring,
Cendra

 
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Q: I am 9 years old and I am trying to figure out what happens when we die. Is there really a heaven? Do we get reunited with the people we loved that are already in heaven?

hi its adam, the 9 year old kid again,is dying good or bad. please write back. thank you adam

It's me again, Adam, the 9 year old. I also need to know what does heaven look like? Thank you. Adam

A:

Dear Adam:

Your questions at Kidsaid are welcome and we are sorry for any loss that brought you here.

First of all, I wonder why you are thinking about death and heaven. Perhaps someone close to you has died. If that is true, you might like to join our k2k kids-to-kids support group. This is where kids can talk with other kids about their losses. In case you need it, click here for the k2k joining form.

What happens when someone dies is that the person's heart stops beating and there is no breathing. He or she will never be able to come alive again in that body. The person as we knew him or her is not there anymore.

Death seems like a bad thing to us humans, because we love the person and want them to stay here with us. We feel death it is unfair. But everything that is born has to die one day. Death isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes when a person is very old and ill, they are ready to die and we can be glad that they are no longer suffering. We can still miss the person very much though!

Lots of people believe that after we are dead, the spirit of the person goes somewhere else to live. Some call this place heaven. Many people believe too that we will eventually be reunited with the people we love who are already in heaven. As to what heaven looks like, different people have different ideas about that, so I cannot tell you definitely.

Let me know if you need any more help.

With caring,

Gillian
GriefNet/Kidsaid Counselling Team

 
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Q: hi i am MATTHEW age five. how come dead people are put in long shiney boxes called casketsgrandpa died and they did that. he looked asleep but was not breathing or snoring how come how come grandpa died when he was nice and step grandma is a mean old lady and she is not dead how come she didnt die your friend write me and not on this machine to everybody
A: Hi, Matthew,

Yes, I got your message.

People are put in caskets when they are buried in the ground. They could just be put in a plain box or even just in a sheet, but lots of people want to do something very special when somebody dies, so they get a fancy casket.

When people die they stop breathing. They don't need air anymore because they are no longer in their bodies. People have lots of ideas about where dead people's spirits go, but we know that wherever they are, it is not in their bodies.

I don't know why your step-grandma didn't die. Maybe she wasn't sick. Or maybe she isn't so old her body just gets worn out. People don't die because of being nice or not nice; people die because they are sick or hurt or very old. Everybody dies sooner or later, and I agree it's too bad when nice people die and not people that we think are mean.

You might want to look in our book section for books for kids about death and dying. You might find the books answer more of our questions. If you can't find the books at your local library, have one of your parents buy them through GriefNet if they are able to.

 
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Q: What's a peer?
A: A peer is someone who is like you in some way. Here we mean someone who is about the same age as you. When you hear your parents say things like 'peer pressure', they're refering to people in your class, the kids you play with, your friends, the others on your baseball team or volleyball team. Peers can be any kids you come in contact with on a regular basis, the other kids you might hang out with or be influenced by.

It is important to know who you are and who you want to be, to know right from wrong, so you are not heavily influenced by peers who practice the kinds of behavior that might get you into trouble, or that might hurt you. It is also important to be able to express yourself to your peers, especially if you are going through a tough time in your life.

When something is wrong in your life and it makes you sad or upset, maybe angry or depressed, the people around you will notice the way you're acting. If you can explain to them what is making you act this way, they can be more understanding and supportive of you.

Sometimes your peers might be involved in some activity or behavior that is wrong, or dangerous and you might feel that if you don't go along with them, that they won't like you or talk to you anymore. Even if you know what they're doing is wrong or dangerous, you might go along with them just to fit in. This is peer pressure.

 
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Q: I was wondering about sommething about my body. I have a small chest and everyone makes fun of me what can i do
A: Hi, I'm Devon and Im 15 years old. I'm sorry kids make fun of you becase yu hav a small chest. I judge people by whats inside them and who they are. Last April my brother Shane died and he was 13 and we'd realy been close all our lives.It realy hurt me then and I had a real hard time crying and it just happened i cried and couldnt stop myself. I live on the beach and one day I was going out to swim in the ocean and I broke down thinking about my brother being gone.Three boys I knew were walking by and they made fun of me and caled me a sissy for crying.I gues you know I hurt enough without them doing that. I got on k2k and startd talking abot how I hurt. K2k helped me understand i wasnt a sissy and then i could start dealing with being upset over losing my brothr and they've helped me a lot there. The big thing was this. I had to understand when sombody says things abot me and tries to hurt me what they say is not true. I am a good kid in myself. So are you! Dont forget that.Thats important to understand now.I want to start out with you by saying you are a good kid.You are honest. You told Ms. Lynn abot your chest being small.Thats courage and to me its a sign you are the kinda kid I'd love to know and help. So take my handshake and my hug right here. I am yur friend.

Answered by Devon Michael Hill

 
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Q: My name is Sarah and I joined KIDSAID a few weeks ago because of my mother's death. I dress in the gothic fashion, but I am not this super evil person the media has lately turned goths into. Since the Columbine High School incedent, people I know at my school have been giving me these looks, like I am getting ready to pull a gun out of my backpack and start shooting people. The people used to pretty much ignore me, except my friends who knew me before I started dressing wierd. I know that the only way that I could totally make it go away is to start dressing normally again, but I don't want to change myself. Is there any way that I can tell people that I am not crazy, and that I am not evil?
A: Hi, Sarah,
I have two answers for you which contradict each other, but I think both are true.

First, people right now are very jittery since the shooting happened. I know I jump at loud sounds and look twice at people who appear strange. And I'm a professional grief therapist. So it's not surprising that ordinary people are frightened by your appearance. You may want to consider changing your style of dress. You don't have to dress whatever normally is, but maybe you could pick a style different than Gothic, at least for awhile.

The second thing is that actions speak louder than appearances. If you smile and say hello to people, maybe they'll smile and say hello back. If you are dressed in a scary way but are very friendly, people will most likely respond to the friendliness rather than the looks. But if you're in a really big school this might not work, since you can't really say hello to hundreds of people.

Try these suggestions and let us know what works.

 
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Q: my cousin died on march 11 he was only 24 years old and he was killed in a car accident. i was so upset at first then after the funeral i thought i was ok but now i am super sad again. i usually am the worst when i am going to bed at night i always start crying. i am usually so strong but this is really getting me upset and i was wondering how long it was going to take till i would get over this?
A: I'm really sorry to hear about your cousin's death. What a tragedy that he died so young.

Your reactions are perfectly normal. Grief kind of comes and goes. It circles around and goes behind you and you think you are OK and then it sneaks up and hits you all over again. It's a lot like waves at the seashore.

It also hits worse at night because they you are tired and unable to put your feelings aside. Crying is not a weakness. Only the strong can cry, because only they are able to face their feelings. You are sad because you really loved your cousin and you miss him.

Grief isn't something we get over, like a cold. It is something we live with. We can either live with it well, by facing it and expecting it, or poorly by running away from it. Because you wrote us for help, it means you are trying to deal with your grief.

Are your parents or other adults aware that you're really sad. It really helps if you can talk to them about it. You can do other things, as well. The first is to join our kids' support group, kids-to-kids, by going to Kids there talk openly about their feelings and you won't be alone.

You can do other things, like writing a letter to your cousin and either putting it on his grave, or save it in a special place. If you do art or music, create something special in his memory. You can put a memorial up on GriefNet HERE.

Try these things and then write back and let us know how you're doing. We really care.

 
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Q: I went out with a kid, I'll call him Bill. My mother found a note from him containig over 15 curse words and a swastika up in the corner of it before we went out. She told me never to go out with him. I liked him too much, so I went out with Bill anyway. While we went out he gave me another letter that just told me how much he loved me and why he liked me. I eventually broke up with him because we were from two different groups in our middle school in Central NJ, I'm more popular than he is, and he was very upset, from what I heard. He gave me another letter that said that he missed me so much and that he wanted to go back out with me, unless I liked Matt. I didn't like Matt, so I just never said anything to Bill. I didn't want to say no because I liked him so much! Eventually, my mom found the other two letters in my backpack and realised we went out. She was ticked! She said that she could never trust me again and that something would have to be done. A non-formal restraining order was placed without my consent. I still like Bill and I need to talk to him, but if I try to make contact with him he was told to tell the police. And he would! Today, April 23, 1999, was the first day I've seen him since the restraining order. We looked into each others eyes and I knew he knew that I was desperate to talk to him. You have to understand one thing, he is a troubled kid. A very troubled kid, that I love! He's said that he was going to kill two girls from our school, but I think he was just joking! His mother had him when she was 16 so he was neglected for about five years, until his mom had to go to jail. He was sent to live with his aunt, whom never got along with his mother. He's never trusted anyone, until he met me. His best friend told me. What should I do?
A: Your situation with Bill sounds very complicated. Your mom really disapproves of him; you like him; you know he's very troubled. Youdon't say how old you are, but no matter what your age, you probably aren't in a position to really help Bill. He trusts you, but he alsohas a history of not being able to trust people. The fact is, if there is a restraining order against him, your talking to him only makes things worse. With all his problems, he reallydoesn't need to be running up against the police as well. It's hard to know that the best thing you can do for someone is to leave them alone,especially when you really like them. But if you care about them, thenthat's what you have to do.

This is the kind of question I think other kids can help you with as well as I can. You should join our support group kids-to-kids. The kids in that groupare very supportive and have lots of good ideas.

But please also write me back and tell me how it's going.

 
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Q: I was wondering if someone out here well give me advice on how to feel when a close friend dies. Here is the story!!!! Ok my sisters best boy friend, and his friend were going over to a friends house in the middle of he night. {by the way the kids name was michael.} well all of the sudden a drunk driver can speeding up to a stop sign. Because he was drunk, he didn't see the two kids on there bikes. well as michael was getting into his lane so the drunk driver wouldn't hit him, the driver swurved and hit him . Knocking him 300 feet a way and the drunk driver didn't stop, so the police called it a hit and run. The dworst part about all this is 1. his best friend Adam was there with him, and michael told him to stay over there. Before Adam could say anything the stupid drunk driver hit him, and 2 michael had 1 younger brother 1 younger sister{who is know my best friend} and an older brother. Iknow it is realy hard on his family because i went over to his sisters house and all the sudden milissa start crying, while Iwas trying to comfort her, I started crying to .!!!!!!! How are you supposed to act at school when people talk about death . Someone please write me back. If you were wondering michael was 12 heres old and died on homecoming night.
A: How horrible. What an awful thing to have Michael hit and killed on homecoming night. Of course you are all upset and devastated. The way to act at school when people talk about death is the way you feel. You might feel sad and cry, you might feel angry about how someone else is talking about it. Then you can say, please don't do that, like be disrespectful or joking, because it hurts the feelings of the people involved. You can't control how other kids act, but you can let them know how you feel.

It's good that you are able to cry with your friend. This way she knows that you really care. Crying is good, whenever you're sad. If you don't show your true feelings, then that leaves her feeling more alone.

You should join our support group, kids-to-kids, and find out what other kids have to say about this. There you will get lots of support.

Let me know how it goes

 
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Q: is heaven a made up place just 2 make us feel better?
A:

It's hard to know for sure if there really is a heaven, but I don't think it was made up just to make us feel better. A lot of people have believed in some sort of heaven for many thousands of years, so it's sure not something made up by your parents, or mine, or their parents, etc. Which leads me to think that there's something to it.

Why don't you join our group, kids-to-kids, and ask this question there. I think you would hear a lot of different opinions, and maybe get some good ideas.

 
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Q: hi i go to middle school.. yesturday thursay may 5 my pricible made a anounshment say that the kids that said there were gonna kill people was just a rumor and nothing will happen monday. well the kid that got accused for itis in my 6th hour and i try to be nice to him because i heard he was really going to do it... and he has been sent down to the office before about the same thing. i am scared to death because i think he would do something like that what do i do??
A: What a scary situation. I'd be terrified! I'm so glad you wrote, because I would be happy to help you figure out what you should do. Start by telling your parents. Share with them this message you wrote to me and my reply. One thing psychologists knew before and now, unforutnately many people know, is to always take these threats seriously. I don't know the kid, I don't know your school, I don't know your parents, your principal, or even you. But I value your judgement. When I was in school I certainly knew who the dangerous kids were, who were the show-offs and who would really do something.

So tell somebody, like your parents. Tell your teachers. Tell your principal. Tell anyone who will listen until you get someone to take your fear seriously. And you do have the option of not going to school on Friday if you don't feel safe.

Please write back and let me know what has happened and is happening and how you are.

 
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Q: It's been 5 years since my grandma on my father's side died, and 3 years since my grandparents on my mother's side died, but I still can't seem to handle it. I'm 15 now and since I never let my feelings out back then, I'm now finding myself suffering from anxiety attacks and suicidal thoughts. I have tried to find help, but there are no places in the therapy programs right now. I just cant seem to pull myself out of it. Do you feel that grieving for this long is 'normal'?
A: I'm so sorry to learn about the death of your grandparents. I know what a loss that can be: one of my grandfathers died when I was seven and I grieved for a long time.It sounds as though you were very close to all three of them. Although missing a loved one forever is normal, anxiety attacks and suicidal thoughts are not normal at any time. They are a sign that the loss has triggered an underlying illness, usually depression or anxious depression. These illnesses have many features but the one most noticeable is the severe moods that one cannot pull oneself out of.

While therapy can help you deal with these illnesses, they can only be fully treated medically. This means you need to see your family doctor. That's the place to start. If you need help explaining this to your parents, just have them write to me, or simply share this letter with them.

The medications for treatment often take awhile to be effective. Meanwhile I suggest you join our support group for kids, kids-to-kids. There are many supportive kids in this group, and some of them have this same type of illness.

Please write back if I can be of further help.

 
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Q: My father died June 2nd,1999. Not only was it hard for everybody elese but especially me. I found him at 6:00am.It was scary,really scary! I am nine in a half years old.I have 2 brothers and 1 sister.My younger brother did not even get to meet him.He is only 9 days old! My question is why did he die so soon?I know you probably can't answer that.But I have a nother question: What can I do to make myself feel better?
A: How horrible for you to find your father dead at six in the morning. It must have been terrifying.

You're right, I don't know why he died so soon. I don't even know what he died of. But I do know of a number of things you can do to make yourself feel better. One is to join our support group, kids-to-kids. The kids in the group are great - warm and caring and loving. After you join, write and tell them what happened to you.

You might also want to look in our bookstore: There are lots of books there for kids about grief. Check them over.

Write back if you want to,

with caring,
Cendra

Columbine - 1999
Q: Hi! My name is Paul. I am 14 and for the past 3 years haven't really felt the way I use too. 3 years ago I moved to Midland, Michigan from Canada. I never really liked it here because I couldn't find a friend or companion to talk to or have fun with. I was very sad for 3 years. I wouldn't want to go to school and would never do anything with my friends. As it turns out I finally found a friend, but the problem is they live 30 minutes away and I don't get to see them that much. I still don't like going to school but I play hockey and love it. I like everyone on my team and I am having fun. But, my dad was just told that we are too move again. It seems that everytime I try to settle in, we move. I really am confused. it also doesn't help that for the past 3 months I knew we are too move so I have been slacking off in school and i can't help it and then my dad who is very pressuring wants me to keep good marks. I only have 2 weeks left but it keeps getting worse and worse as times go on and I am always crying. I tried to see a psyciatrist but I couldn't open up to her and I am just holding my feelings in and I am ready to burst. I don't even know if I want to move or not. I think I do. I hope you can understand this better than I can because I am so confused and don't know what to do.(if there is anything I can do)I hope you can help.
A: I'm really sorry you are having such a hard time. I think moving can be awful for kids because they aren't in charge of whether they want to or not. It sounds like Midland was a bummer for you. I used to go to Midland in the Sixties and never found it all that friendly, so I guess things haven't changed. We live in Ann Arbor where it's really friendly.

It's really nice you found a good friend, but it's too bad it's 30 minutes to get to visit each other. I'm glad you have hockey. That's a sport that can go with you almost everywhere.

It's really sad you are moving again. No wonder you are always crying and having trouble in school. I'm sorry you didn't feel comfortable with your psychiatrist. It can be hard to open up when you don't feel comfortable. But now all your feelings are getting stuffed up.

You know, I think it might really help if you wrote this to kids-to-kids. Lots of times kids have good insight into how to help each other with their feelings. And then you wouldn't feel quite so stuffed up.

Where are you going to move to? Maybe it will be a friendlier place. You can always write to me any time. I hope you do so I will know how you are.

   
Q: I don't know how I'm supposed to cope with the shooting. I feel the sadest that I've ever felt. It's like one of my own family memebers died. I look at the pictures and here the stories and I still can't belive it! What should I do to cope?
A: Dear Meaghan,
You are not alone. All of us are struggling to cope with this tragedy. It is horrible and adults and kids all over the US and Canada are trying to deal with it. A lot of us feel like one of our own family members died.

There are many things we can do to cope. Talking about it is a good start, so I'm glad you wrote. If you want to talk with other kids about it, join our support group, kids-to-kids.

Talking to your parents or other adults who care about your feelings will help a lot. Even though grownups don't know all the answers, knowing that they care about you is very important.

We also suggest art and music You might want to do what another person did and create a memorial for them on GriefNet. You can do that at GriefNet Memorials.

Finally, we at KIDSAID do care, so write back and let us know how your doing.

A: I think that the two boys that did this to all of the children in the school are sick. Shooting helpless and weaponless kids is unexceptable. I feel very sorry for the 15 children that died in this massacre. Hopefully, after people have seen this massacre that happened in Littleton,Colorado, they will reconsider what they may do before they do it. We shouldn't forget this, but we must pass it. It is something that we cannot forget, but we must not let it take over our lives. I want all of you who are effected by this to not forget your friends who have died. Don't let the massacre to take over you but remember your friends who have died.
   
Q: I'm 15, almost 16 in a little over a month. I should be able to handle things. But the Littleton Colorado thing has really shaken me up. I don't guess it really bothered me until I heard on CNN about the girl who begged for her life and the gunmen shot her best friend standing beside her instead. Since then I have constantly had on my mind what I would do if I caused my best friend to be killed. I think that it would just kill me. I don't know if I could handle it. We had a moment of silence for them at our high school. As we stood there I just wanted to grab two of my best friends that were standing beside me and tell them how much they meant to me, but I didn't. I try to let them know that I care about them as best I know how. Tears welled up in my eyes as I stood there. No one breathed, I think we all said a silent prayer and hoped for the best , because we are about an half hour to fourty five minutes from Grayson(1993 shooting) and a while away from Paducah(recent) it bothered us. Kentucky has had to deal with this too many times, but each time it happens I find myself in a state of disbelief no matter where. I wish I could do something but I don't know what. All I've done is pray for them. Now I just need to know how to deal with it myself
A: Thanks for writing. I'm really glad you felt able to share these very hard thoughts and feelings. First of all, just because you're nearly 16 doesn't mean you should know how to handle things. This event in Littleton was hard to handle for everyone, no matter how old they are or how experienced at dealing with bad and scary things. The staff here at KIDSAID and GriefNet have all been relying on each other for support and comfort.

I know what you mean about the girl who begged for her life. That one really shook me up, too. I kept imagining her standing there watching the other girl lose her life. My first thought was, "How will she ever live with this?" She'll need a lot of support and a lot of help. Fortunately it looks like she'll get it.

You need support too. It's terrifying for anyone, but especially when you've been close to it like you have been living in Kentucky. I know, because we had a shooting at a school near here, but it wasn't a kid who did it, so it didn't get on national news. So I know what it feels like to think that it could happen here.

The thing to remember is, it could, but it isn't likely to. Like they said on TV, the chance of this happening to you is one in a million. There are lots of kids and lots of schools and this stuff doesn't happen every single day.

Of course that doesn't stop the "what if?" thoughts. We all have them. And I think it's really wonderful that you first thought about your own best friends. I don't know how you guys are with each other, but I think I'd want to tell my best friends that you never want to lose them. They probably are feeling the same way.

There are other things you can do that may help. I'll just suggest them - see if any of them sound like good ideas:

- write to the kids at Littleton and send it to their principal:

Mr. Frank DeAngelis, Principal
Columbine Senior High School
6201 S Pierce Street
Littleton, CO 80123

  • make a memorial on one of the many web sites. Ours is HERE.
  • join kids-to-kids, our support group on line. Kids there have been talking about the shooting a lot. You get support from kids you don't know who will all understand how you feel. Then you'll get to know more people who really care about feelings.
  • if you're gifted with art or music, create something beautiful for others to share.
  • if you're gifted with words, as you certainly seem to be, write something for the KIDSAID stories and poetry page. It may help a lot of kids you will never even know about.
  • definitely find an adult you trust to talk to: your parents, a teacher, a neighbor, a relative. Share your feelings and your fears. Let them comfort and support you.
  • Finally, write back and let me know how you are doing.
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