Can we talk for a moment about teen suicide? It’s the 2nd leading cause of death in kids ages 10-24 (Source: National Vital Statistics Report, 2014).
Disclaimer: If your child is suicidal, seek medical attention. Call your family doctor. Find a counselor. The below discussion is about seeds to plant when they are young.
You can have PREVENTIVE conversations with your kids about suicide without describing suicide in detail. Even in elementary school. The goal is to prevent the thought of suicide from ever becoming an option your child considers.
When my child came home at eleven years old and asked me what suicide was, I realized it was important to start planting seeds. Here are a few things we discussed:
1. You’re not trapped at your school. If you’re being made fun of, bullied, etc., it’s important for you to tell me. We can try to resolve the issue together. If we can’t get it resolved, we can look at other school options — private, public, homeschool, magnet, charter school, etc. You’re not stuck there.
2. God has a specific plan for YOUR life. If you are breathing, God has a plan. See Jeremiah 29:11-13.
3. I love you, no matter what. Even if you make a bad choice or choose something I totally disagree with. In fact, you will make mistakes. Life is about learning and growing from those bad choices. I love you regardless. Talk to me when you make mistakes, and we’ll work through it together.
4. The things you struggle with — Satan wants you to keep those hidden. That’s where he can manipulate you. Do not ever suffer in silence. When you are struggling, hurting, doubting, questioning, that is the time to talk with me. Then we can go to the Bible together and find answers, hope and peace. God can change any situation. He can heal, forgive, make new, change hearts — there is always hope. God is so powerful, He can actually even take your mistakes and use them for good!! To help others who are making those same bad choices. See Deuteronomy 23:5 (Curse into Blessing).
5. God created you. You are a masterpiece. He knit you together in the womb. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you don’t have value. God gives you value, not people. You do not find your worth in likes, followers or anything else. See Psalm 139:13.
What would you add to this list?
At nextTalk, we have an Advisory Council composed of medical professionals that we collaborate with on a regular basis as we cover difficult topics.
If you need help talking to your kids about suicide, below are two different podcasts for your reference:
Always seek medical attention immediately if your child is struggling.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255