Dear child: What you need to know about suicide

Suicide is a difficult topic for many parents. This parent's letter will help you know how to talk to your child about it.

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  • Dear child,

  • Of all the difficult talks I've had with you about peer pressure, sex, drugs, etc., there's one that's almost more difficult than all of them for me to talk with you about. But it's so important that I want to talk with you about it anyway, just in case.

  • I'm sure you've seen on the news about teens who have committed suicide. Many of them were being bullied online or had problems at home. But I want to talk with you about why they did what they did and talk with you about times when you may feel just as hopeless. I know it sounds cheesy, but it may just save your life.

  • I'm sure you've figured out by now that life isn't all lemon drops and gum drops. Life is hard. And sometimes it can feel overwhelming—even hopeless. There will be times when you don't get into the college you want or all your friends all of a sudden don't want to be your friends anymore. You may even find yourself in a lot of trouble and you can't think of any way out.

  • Despite how hopeless or overwhelming life may feel, I want you to know that, while suicide may feel like an option, there are a lot more ways to get out of whatever bad situation you're in. In fact, there are many other options available — no matter what you're going through — that can get you out of whatever rut you find yourself in. And no matter how deep that rut is, you'll find yourself out of it soon enough and on to happier days.

  • How do I know this? I know because you have endless capabilities. You're smart, you're funny and you have a warm appreciation for things that very few people have. You see life from a point of view that very few people see. Because of all these things, you have a unique ability to be creative and think outside the box. You're able to come up with solutions to things that other people can't—solutions others don't even see.

  • No matter what, remember that I love you. I would miss you terribly if I didn't get to see you at Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday. I look forward to celebrating your graduation, your wedding and other big events with you. I would miss even just talking to you. I would never stop thinking of you and your birthday would be a hard day for me every year.

  • More importantly, despite life being hard, I want you to know that it can be beautiful too. You only have to take a walk through the park to see this. You'll see children laughing, couples flirting, old men playing games, and you'll see all kinds of nature surrounding you. You'll see cars and taxis all full of people trying to get somewhere for someone they love.

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  • Even though there will be times that you feel life is hard, please come talk to me and I'll do whatever I can to help you. Together, we can help you find pathways to get yourself into a brighter place. If you really feel that ending your own life is the only option, you may have a mental health challenge like depression that we can find help for too.

  • No matter what, you'll never be alone because you'll always have me.

  • All my love,

  • Dad.

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Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.

Website: http://www.TheMarriageandFamilyClinic.com

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