Advice on explaining a tough situation to my young son

JENNY - posted on 03/12/2013 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My little boy is 4 and will be 5 in October. His father committed suicide right before he turned 3. My son asks me about him all of the time - whether or not he's coming home, when will I see my daddy again, and mommy I miss him. It tears me up to even talk about this with him. He can tell I'm upset when we talk and he says "mommy what's wrong?". I need some help to be strong for my little guy. Any advice?

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/13/2013

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Awe, what a tough situation. I am so sorry for your families loss.

I would just keep doing what you are doing. Tell him daddy is in "heaven" or what ever you believe. Let him know daddy is not coming back, but that he can always look at pictures of him, and he will always be in our memories.

Have you gone to grief counseling for yourself? They may have wonderful ideas on how to help children cope.

Therese - posted on 03/12/2013

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I have never been where you are, but as a non-professional, I can only give you my personal views.

I think the simple words of "darling, Daddy went to heaven early" might be the best explanation. When my father in law died, my son was 4 years old, and he loved him. My father in law spent more time with him then my husband, so it was a hard thing to tell our son that he was never coming back. I know that you feel maybe more cheated that he committed suicide, but there is no reason why both you and your son must feel the "bad" about how he died, but that he died.

I think for now feeling sad is fine, it shows your son that you cared and loved and missed his Dad, but I don't think that it's necessary to tell him how he died. Why would you burden a child with that, if you can't understand or accept, wouldn't it be worst for your child and do you really want to do that to your son?

I think your best bet is to sit with your son one day and just tell him, "Sweetheart, Daddy isn't coming home anymore, not because he doesn't want to, but because he has to help the angels take care of other people - he knows that you will be fine with me and he knows that you know that he will love you always, but it's just time to let Daddy do this" That's pretty much what we told our son, and whenever he asked for his grandfather, we just said, remember, he is helping the angels and its okay if we miss him but he has a job. Maybe when he is pass his teenager and insecure years, you can sit with him and tell him the truth.

Again, this is not a professional advice, it's just something that worked for us. We also always tell our son how precious he is to his grandfather, maybe you can tell that to your son too everytime you have the chance. When the time comes that you have to tell your son the truth, he will hopefully feel secure in that love and accept that his dad just had a problem and it had nothing to do with Mom or himself.

Good luck, my God give you strength

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Kristi - posted on 03/15/2013

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Oh Jenni--Please get help for yourself. You have experienced to devastating tragedies. No one person should ever have to face such things. The only "silver lining" here is that you do know what your son is going through. You will be able to understand him better than anyone else because you've been there. However tragic it is, it is a bond you will share forever. Did you check out any of the books on the amazon link? Many of us here will be thinking of you and hoping you and your son will feel his father's spirit and that his presence will bring you comfort.

Gwen - posted on 03/15/2013

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I wouldn't tell him, my kid would probably hate me. BUT honestly if he's not involved with dads parents (grandma and grandpa) then I'd make up awesome super hero stories about his dad. How he's off saving the world, or working as a spy (but a good one) or something until he was much older, like 16-18.

JENNY - posted on 03/13/2013

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No i have not been to grieve counseling for my little boys father's death. My own father commited suicide when i was 17 yrs old i am now 40, its hard that i have dealt with two suicides of two people who were both loved in one lifetime.

thanks again!

JENNY - posted on 03/13/2013

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thanks to all of the people that have been kind and left suggestions ... most of them I am already doing especially telling him that his father is in heaven. That is the best thing for him right now I feel deep in my heart.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/13/2013

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Another suggestion is that Daddy is his guardian angel now, and will be with him always. But...only if that won't freak him out.

I lost my gran when my eldest was 2, and he'd ask for her constantly until one day...he quit. I asked why, and he said it was because "grammie is watching me, mom, and she takes care of me and brother". Closest I can figure is he was sensing her spirit.

Yes, I am Christian, but I do believe in spirits. Kinda hard not to when you can't explain any other reason for some things happening!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/13/2013

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I'll agree with Kristi and Therese. Both have excellent suggestions that I cannot build upon!

I am so sorry for your loss, and that of your son. I wish you the best, Jenny!

Kristi - posted on 03/13/2013

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I think Therese has some excellent suggestions for you to help your son along. Encourage him to share his feelings and maybe check out a few of the books on this list. It's from Amazon but I'm sure if you find any that you're interested in, you can check them out at the library.

http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Books-He...

I would recommend you get some grief counseling, yourself. I can't imagine your loss. Maybe try to find a support group for people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

I do hope you know in your mind and in your heart, that what he did was out of your control. I will keep you and your son in my prayers. May you find peace and healing.

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