With the article from npr.com regarding 13 Reasons Why circling on social media, I wanted to again take this opportunity to encourage you as a parent to talk to your kids about this subject no matter what you think about the Netflix show. You can read the article by clicking on the photo below.
Below is my response in a private Facebook group where I serve as a mental health consultant for a private Christian school.
While your children don’t need to watch a show like this, as a mental health professional of over 20 years and the previous crisis counselor for one of our local school districts, I believe it is so important you begin talking to your children about the fact that death is not an option earlier than you think you need to. The phrase I like to use is, “it is a permanent ending to a temporary problem and there are better solutions.”
The enemy is out to kill, steal and destroy and while He that is in us is greater, thoughts regarding death often become a focus of kids often as they begin to reach middle school or just before.
This occurs more so for kids who are in the gifted category. These minds have the ability to struggle with existential issues earlier in life. Dark thoughts often begin subtly at first, but they can grow into a very destructive bent in secret. I have already had this conversation with my eight-year-old because kids hear things and it’s just like drugs – they need to be able to say no drugs and the research supports giving them refusal skills early does help. As a freebie, another protective factor is being involved in outside school activities – the risk for drugs and suicide goes way down.
I know you feel vulnerable talking to your kids about such a scary subject but it’s so important that you do so because death, grief and sadness are a part of our kid culture and our kids need to know our spiritual view points when it comes to these topics. Our children need to know the hope of Jesus surpasses any earthly struggle or feeling they’re changing bodies create. They also need to know that there was nothing that they will face that you along side them cannot help them get through.
If you have any questions about talking to your kids about the subject of suicide or want to share with others how you approached the topic and your child’s response, I would love for you to comment below.
Also stay tuned tomorrow (May 1st) as I go live on my Facebook page regarding this topic and modeling ways to start the conversation.