When Your Kids Ask About Suicide

 

Source: stadtlandmama.de

 

It is natural for parents and other adult family members to protect the little ones from the dark actualities about life. That is why it is troubling for them to talk about suicide to kids. But what if they ask about it? Would you spare them the knowledge about a reality that has gotten so common these days? It would seem that while we are protecting them, we are ripping away their chances of healing as well.

 

Many parents (including me, honestly) are hesitant to talk about a suicide in the family to their children perhaps because of embarrassment, fear, or confusion. However, when children hear adults discussing this sensitive issue, without a doubt they will form their own version of what happened, which leads to more dangerous outcomes in the long run. It is important, therefore, that information about death by suicide or other tragic causes should be conveyed to them in a manner that is suitable for their age.

 

Simplifying The Explanations

 

To start off, it would be inappropriate to use the phrase ‘committed suicide’ as it may sound like a crime was done and it was successful (giving a negative implication that it can be done even if it is wrong). You can use the phrase ‘died by suicide’ instead.

 

For the younger children, you may need to provide a clearer description, such as:

 

“Dying means that the body isn’t working any longer, and nothing can fix it. Some people are just so hurt and so sad that they think the only way to get rid of their sadness is for their body to stop working. Some people also die this way because they have a sickness that comes from their brain. When the brain is sick, they may feel very hopeless.”

Source: maxpixel.net

 

Encouraging Questions

Do not forbid your children to ask questions. You will thank yourself in the end for letting them speak their mind. Answer them as simply as you can, with an encouraging note, like:

 

“I know you must be confused or maybe wondering what or why it happened. I may not be able to let you understand fully, but you can always come to me and tell me how you feel. We can talk about it more. Or you can ask other adults about this.”

 

Be as truthful as possible without giving out the horrid specifics. If they ask how it happened, you can tell them that ‘he took pills that were not good for his body. That’s why he was hurt and his body didn’t work anymore.”

 

Supporting Them With Your Time and Presence

 

Sometimes, children blame themselves for the death of their loved one, and it is crucial that you help them get rid of this disturbing thought. Remind them that there are many reasons why people die from suicide, but none of these reasons involve them. Also, do not attempt to take away their sadness but instead listen to them and allow them to share how they really feel. This way they will overcome the process of grieving appropriately.

 

Helping Them Learn Through Modeling

 

Source: army.mil

 

Children mimic the ways of adults. Grieve healthily by showing sadness appropriately, which is through crying and sharing your emotions with others, not through violent reactions. Talk to them and let them see how you feel so that they too will realize that showing one’s emotions is a very effective way of healing. Show them how to acknowledge grief. Let them know that there are nourishing ways to recover, that they are not alone, and that they are loved.

 

5 Ways To Promote Mental Wellness In Kids

The things that children bond over tend to change with time. During pre-school, everything is about toy trucks or doll houses. When they move past the age of nine or ten, that is when they become aware of the opposite sex and gush over crushes and famous celebrities. Once they reach adolescence, you can expect these not-so-little kids to mostly talk about sports, prom, and clubs.

A current trend that worries most adults, though, is the early introduction of some kids to self-harming, addiction, and suicide. Many of them cause damage to themselves because they do not know how to deal with the stress that comes with studying, being a son or daughter, or maintaining friendships. The others try cutting into their flesh merely because their classmates do the same, and it is their way of fitting in.

 

Source: defense.gov

 

How can we rely on these children to make the world a greater place when they are already psychologically unstable at a young age?

If you wish to save your kids from this scary progression of events, you should promote mental wellness at home as early as today.

 

Be Open With Your Children

Regardless of how tight your schedule is at work, you should never let a day pass without seeing or speaking to your kids. You want them to know what you are doing with your life, and vice versa. If they have problems, they should be able to run to you for help or advice. Otherwise, they might try to resolve their issues using harmful methods, e.g., drug abuse, sex, etc.

 

Source: defense.gov

Nurture The Kids

The children who feel neglected by their parents and have had to depend on themselves early want to escape the reality by getting high on illegal substance or self-harming. The ones who receive proper nutrition and support from their family, however, are less likely to have mental instability. They are aware of how great life is and will not want to do something that can ruin that.

 

Explain Situations

Some kids cause trouble as well because they have deep questions that the adults refuse to answer. For instance, “Why are mommy and daddy not together?’ “Why does my friend have a new schoolbag, but I have to use a hand-me-down?” Stop assuming that they are too young to understand things like divorce and poverty since children these days are smarter than you think. If only you explain your family’s situation to them, they may know how to act better.

 

Acknowledge Behavioral Changes

When you notice that your kid’s behavior is taking an ugly turn, you should not take it as a mere phase that all children experience. A cheerful child does not become moody or develop a habit of talking back for no reason. There is typically an incident that caused the change, and you have to acknowledge that before their behavioral transformation worsens.

 

Go Out As A Family

Finally, make sure to get together as a family at least once a week. You can watch movies on Netflix at home or hang out at amusement parks during the weekends. It matters for children to see that their parents have time to be with them. Should they need emotional support in the future, they won’t have to look elsewhere for people who can offer it.

Source: wikimedia.org

Do not wait for an irreversible incident to occur in your kids’ lives before you invest in their psychological well-being. Promote mental wellness at home now. Good luck!

 

 

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Source: parenting.com

 

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Source: peaandthepodchiropractic.com

 

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The Internet, Gadgets, Your Kids And You

Why You Shouldn’t Make Technology Your Kid’s Babysitter

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