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Helping Your Children Cope with the Suicide

Helping Your Children Cope with the Suicide

by Kevin Caruso

Coping with a suicide is an extremely difficult thing for anyone; but it can be particularly challenging for children.

I always STRONGLY recommend that children receive long-term counseling starting IMMEDIATELY. Do not try to handle the situation by yourself. Suicide is intensely painful, and enlisting the help of a professional will assist you and your children.

With respect to what you can do for your children, let me give you the key word: listen.

Encourage your children to talk about their feelings, whenever they want to!

And ask them questions to elicit responses; and then shower them with love afterwards.

You can ask questions such as the following:

  • Have you been thinking about your brother (or whoever died by suicide)?
  • What have you been thinking about?
  • What do you miss most about your brother?
  • Is there anything that we can do to make you feel better?

And make sure that you talk about the LIFE of the person who died by suicide. CELEBRATE the life of that person. Talk about positive things that you did as a family while that person was alive, and work through the difficult emotions also.

Allow the children to cry for as often and as long as they want to. The expression of emotion is an extremely important part of the grieving process.

You can also encourage your children to DRAW what they are feeling. This provides an alternative outlet for expression that most children feel comfortable with; you can then discuss the drawings when they are done. Ask them what they drew and why. This can promote more discussion and help them release additional emotion.

Also encourage your children to write stories and poems about what they are feeling. Again, this is another alternative form of expression and will help “get the feelings out.”

Remember that each child is different, and thus you can use the methods and outlets that are most effective for each child, but make sure that all of your children KEEP EXPRESSING THEMSELVES.

And remember that a suicide is a lifelong challenge. The pain will never go away completely. So be patient and loving.

And make sure that you take care of yourself. You cannot possibly help your children if you are not receiving help.

So YOU, of course, should already be in therapy. If you are not, you need to go. Period. And you need to be in a suicide support group, if one is available.

Make sure that you talk about your children with your therapist. Talk about what you are doing to work through the pain together. Get feedback from your therapist on what you are doing, and try to get additional ideas for how to best help your children.

And always keep a close eye on your children. Remember that it is COMMON for family members, including children, to feel suicidal themselves after a suicide.

So if any of your children become suicidal, you need to take IMMEDIATE action to ensure that he receives proper treatment.

Remember, get your children into therapy immediately. And encourage them to express their feelings about the suicide in the ways that are most comfortable for them.

And, above all, let your children know that you love them.

Spend A LOT of time with them.

Tell them that you love them every day.

And, more importantly, SHOW THEM that you love them every day.

And always remember that I LOVE YOU.

Take care,

Kevin Caruso

If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.

Thank you.

I love you.

Take care,

Kevin Caruso

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