Question: A young boy in our community – grade-school age – recently took his own life. I have a hard time understanding how a child that age has the maturity level to contemplate suicide. How can I talk to my own grade-school children about this?

Answer:

The best way to talk to your kids about this is to explain that we live in a fallen world. As a result, bad things sometimes happen to good people, even innocent children. Point out that in certain cases kids feel so sad about what is happening in their lives that they can’t believe things will ever get better. They lose all hope in the future, and their emotional pain becomes so excruciating that they think killing themselves is the only answer.

You should also tell your children how sad the story of the child’s suicide made you feel, and that you couldn’t bear it if something like that ever happened to them. Assure them that they can always feel free to talk to you about anything that’s going on in their lives, no matter how sad, scary or embarrassing it may be. Tell them that you will always love them and be there for them no matter what they go through. Remind them that God loves them more deeply than they can understand and that He promises never to leave them or forsake them.

If you need help, please don’t hesitate to contact our counselling department. Our counsellors are available to take your call Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific time at 1.800.661.9800. They’ll be happy to assist you in any way they can.

© 2010 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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