These are questions from my followers that I believe can help many. With this week being Suicide Prevention Week, I will begin with Sue’s question. Each question asked is another way you all help me to continue to help others. Thank you for being part of the “Mary Jo Rapini Team.”
Dear Mary Jo,
How do you explain to your children when a family member commits suicide?”
Thank you for all you do,
I am sorry for your loss. When you talk to your kids, keep it age appropriate and relate it to them as much as possible. These six tips will help your children understand and work through their loss.
- Sit down with them face-to-face and tell them you want to talk.
- Tell them the truth, but not all of the details.
- Explain that their family member was ill with depression or mental illness. Explain that it’s like having a sick heart.
- It’s okay if you cry…your child may cry too.
- Reassure your child that there is nothing they could have done to save their loved one.
- Brainstorm with your child about ways you can remember the family member. Include planting a tree, making meals for a family member of the loved one, or plan a memorial of some kind your children can become involved with. This helps kids create closure and understand that love never ends.
The websites below can offer additional help. Support for suicide that may help:
Facebook: The Code Green
Family Suicides: www.allianceofhope.org/
Talking to kids: www.healthcaretoolbox.org/ChildTrauma
Dear Mary Jo,
After 28 years of divorce my ex-husband is still saying bad things about me to our grown children. He has caused so much pain over the years. Even though I have a good relationship with my kids, they struggle with the lies he tells them. What do I do?
I am so happy you asked this question because many suffer from it just as you do. The truth of the matter is, there is nothing you can or should do other than encourage your kids to talk to their dad if what he says bothers them. You cannot control others, and it sounds as though he is bitter and angry, and that is his baggage, not yours. Your children are grown and they have a right and a voice, and they should use both. If the kids set limits and follow through, he will learn that talking junk about you in their presence is not okay. If he doesn’t learn it or is too bitter to change, then that is his loss. Let go…and engage in the things that make living worthwhile for you.