how to talk about amputation

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by daisies, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. daisies

    daisies Well-Known Member

    Our good friend, Tim will likely have to have his leg amputated.  (Poor circulation related to kidney issues... he received a kidney transplant ~20 years ago)
    Anyway, my question is how would you phrase an amputation discussion with your 2 year old. 

    They don't have the ability to discuss things abstractly so the conversation will happen the first time we see Tim.  they are at a stage where they notice all differences.  Someone wearing a cast gets a loud 'ut oh' from both to them.
    I am not concerned about how Tim will  handle the conversation.  He has a great attitude.  He loves the kids and is wonderful with them.  Among our group of friends we are discussing his likely amputation openly.  He has even started a few pirate jokes.  So that part is okay.
    I am also not really worried about the kids being afraid of him or shying from him.  We have friend in a wheel chair and they never give that any thought.. Except Nicholas thinks it is cool. (so that might be a help when we first see him since he will have a chair for a while). Hannah may act overly worried and maybe even like it is yucky (her reaction at the moment to different things) but if she does, it will be short lived and not directed at Tim.. just his lack of leg.
    I will acknowledge it when they do and at the same time be confident in my attitude that it is okay. But what words?  explanation?
    I worry about finding the right words to explain.  I can't say he had a boo-boo without possibly traumatizing them to all boo-boos.  I don't what to connect it to Doctors but I also want to give them accurate information.
    HELP!  How would you describe amputation to 2 year olds?
    Am I over thinking this?
  2. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    I think you are overthinking it.  Just answer their questions when they ask, matter of factly.  Don't go into details.  I wouldn't try to hide anything from them, just handle questions as they happen. I would even be tempted to let Tim answer their questions--just let him know ahead of time.  They will probably be more worried if you try to prep them, then if it just "is".  What you might find is that they try to take a leg off a doll, so it can be like Tim, than any real problem.
    2 people like this.
  3. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I agree with Sharon!  Just let it be.  Let him even tell them.  Or if they ask you later, tell them that he had a really really bad injury that was hurting him a lot, and he'll feel way better once the stump heals up. 
  4. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    I agree.. overthinking!  Kids will be curious and it sounds like he'd be open for questions!  Tell the kids that he spent some time in the hospital recently and that he is in a wheelchair.  My kids aren't phased much by people in wheelchairs.  I think they'll handle it just fine.  They'll probably want to ride on his lap!
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