When a tragic event such as suicide occurs in a family or inner circle of friends, how should we talk to the young children about such a horrible event? We need to consider some very important facts before we start:
- it is not the expression but the suppression of feelings that is most harmful
- The way most doomed to failure in handling a situation such as this is to deny, ignore, or to be untruthful to the child.
In all my years of working in this field, I never had anyone (including children) say to me “thank you for not telling me the truth.” The child’s greatest needs at this time are trust and truth. In my future blogs, I will suggest a detailed process for adults to follow if they should ever be in this difficult position.