Chapter 5: When death is from suicide
Telling the children
It was so hard to tell them that their dad died from suicide. But I wanted them to know that they could trust me to always be honest with them, and I certainly didn't want them to find out from anyone else.
Telling the truth
One way or the other, your child will probably learn the truth of this death. It’s preferable that they hear it directly from you – not from an older sibling, friends, a conversation they overhear, or by figuring it out themselves. The trust in a relationship can be damaged when a child discovers the truth for themselves.
Just how much information you give will depend on their age and personality. Suicide can be explained even to young children:Suicide is when someone causes their own body to stop working, so their body dies.
How to tell them
Step 1. Let them know the person has died.
I have something really sad to tell you. Dad died today.
Step 2. Give simple details about how they died.
Your sister died in the car.
Step 3. Say that the person caused themselves to die.
I want to explain something to you about how your mom died. She did something to herself which caused her body to die.
Step 4. Reassure them the death isn’t their fault.
When someone dies from suicide, people often wonder if there was something they could have done to stop this from happening. I want you to know that this was not your fault in any way, and there was nothing you could have done to stop it.