If you feel like your child has been preoccupied with death, experiencing negative emotions, can hardly sleep, engaging in risky behaviors, social withdrawals, or anything else that has been troubling you, your child may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. You may be afraid to talk to your child about it because you think you will be putting thoughts in their heads. The truth is that you should never ignore the suicidal signs you see in your child, but to talk to them gently about it so that they know to turn to you for help.
Have You Been Thinking About Suicide?
There is nothing wrong with asking your child if they are thinking about suicide. By asking your child, it shows that you are not afraid of the word or talking about it. It also shows that you will not judge or be ashamed of your child in those thoughts. Ask them if they have thoughts of harming themselves, thinking about suicide, or think about taking their life.
Do You Feel Like Not Being In This World Anymore?
Your children may not understand the concept of suicide, so you may need to re-word what you are trying to say. Ask your child if they feel like they want to hurt themselves so badly that they do not want to be in this world. The words are scary to say but can make a difference if your child comes to you for help after. Use a tone of love and concern and let them know that you will simply help them and work through it together.
How Can I Help My Child?
Connect your child to a therapist that they can trust. This way, they can see that there are adults out there you can trust and they will take their feelings seriously. You should also create a safety plan for your child on numbers to call if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts and ways to distract themselves. Speak openly and honestly about your feelings at home so that your kids are comfortable doing the same thing. It is important that in order to take care of your child that you take care of yourself as well. If you or anyone else you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
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