Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT and Parent Educator
Talking to your kids about suicide following a community tragedy can be one of the hardest conversations to have as a parent.
As the parent, you need to make it clear to your kids that suicide is never, ever the solution to a problem.
Growing up is never easy. And while things may seem scary, overwhelming, or hopeless in the mind of a child or teenager, you have to reassure them of the following:
You are safe, and we are going to help keep you safe.
Bad things happen to really good people. Something bad happening to you doesn’t mean you are a “bad” individual.
We are here to talk without judgment.
Nothing is more important than your well-being – not grades, not sports, and no, not even your friends.
This too will pass. These emotions, this pain, will not last forever.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
You are surrounded by people who love you and care about you, and we are always available for you to speak to. If you don’t want to talk to us, we can find you a person to speak to.
I am sorry if I have been too busy with my life and work to see you, to hear your pain. I see you now.
There is nothing you could do that would be terrible enough to make suicide a good choice.
We love you unconditionally.
Parents, your child needs to feel reassured that you will take care of their physical and emotional needs. Show them this reassurance through effective communication that is clear and honest.
Remember that children grieve differently from adults. Even if they act like something isn’t a big deal, pay attention– it could take some time for them to process what has happened.
During that time, always check in on your kids. Don’t let them spend hours alone in their room, and be sure to keep an eye on what they are doing on social media and electronic devices. Set limits on how much time they spend using these devices, and use that extra time to plan family activities. Giving your children a solid support system is crucial to helping them get through some of life’s most challenging years.
If you suspect your child is struggling, please do not be afraid to seek help for them today. Remember there is a nationwide epidemic of children suffering from depression, anxiety, and self-harming behavior. On average, there are 121 suicides per day, making it the 10th leading causes of death in the US.
Talk to your kids. Let them know that help is always available. Find a trusted therapist, guidance counselor, clergy member for your child and for your family.
For additional information go to https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/.
No one needs to suffer alone, there is no shame around mental illness!
Chocolate Syringes are Not a Good Idea for Kids
by Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT, Parenting Educator
In the midst of a national opioid crisis the last thing we need is for our kids to be desensitized to drugs and drug culture.
Just when I thought I had seen it all with trends targeting kids, I learned about the Chocolate Syringe.
What is a chocolate syringe?
A large, plastic syringe that is filled with liquid chocolate and marketed to kids.
These are a training ground for young adults to become anesthetized to syringes, all while luring them into getting a “shot” to alter how they are feeling. Let’s be real – consuming a large quantity of chocolate will alter how you feel – a “sugar rush.”
Not to mention that the kids gather in a bar like setting to order their chocolate “shot.”
What does this drill into their heads? Hanging out at a bar, feeling like you have to “improve” or alter how you feel to have a good time, being comfortable with syringes?
One famous chocolate-themed restaurant posts on their menu & website “Get Addicted, Be Happy” while describing their ganache-filled chocolate syringe.
Many parents will remember the candy cigarettes we pretended to smoke when we were growing up. Many countries have banned them, concluding that they would encourage children to smoke real cigarettes.
The natural conclusion is that chocolate served in these syringes is just as likely to normalize drug paraphernalia and possibly promote children to use drugs one day.
We can’t ignore the enormous social issues facing so many children in America.
Kids see other teens and adults on TV and YouTube drinking alcohol—and lots of it!
They see kids in their school bathrooms and locker rooms vaping nicotine and weed.
Kids even recognize that most adults they know are stressed out, anxious, and use alcohol and weed to make them feel better. If adults do it, why shouldn't they do it?
Kids still need to be protected from things that just don’t make good common sense. There’s no need to desensitize them to more of the harmful influences they will likely encounter at some point in life.
Tips for Talking to Your Kids at Times of Crisis
Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT, Parenting Navigator
Nancy Kislin, Parenting Navigator
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