Suicide is not the answer & children should know it!!!!

The recent suicide of a college student in Mumbai has shaken up all of us. As a parent I couldn’t sleep for a couple nights after that news. It made me think as a parent when should I breach the topic of suicide with my child.

Some questions that plagued my mind were… Would it be right to even mention something like ‘suicide’ to a child? Would I be planting an idea instead of addressing an issue? What is the right age to talk about something so sensitive?

Taking a cue from my childhood, my parents discussed suicide with me in my early teens; I would think a teen is the best time to discuss this topic with children. My parents had told me that there is always a solution to a problem and nothing matters more than life. Living is a blessing. My father had told me, “suicide is committed by the weak and you are a fighter, no matter what you fight and live to be a winner.” I have since believed that and have fought even the lowest of times in life.

However, times have changed and one might have to breach to topic about happy life with children. As I wasn’t sure about whether I should talk about ‘suicide’ to my child. I spoke to experts in the field.

“Today’s media (shows on television) is exposing children to the word ‘suicide’, children as young as 4-5 years hear the word and connect with it. Suicide is an internal happening and not an external phenomenon.” Emphasizes Johnson Thomas, Director Aasra (Crisis Intervention Center for Suicide Prevention) Helpline number“As a parent you don’t need to necessarily talk about suicide unless you see abnormal behavior in your child. Instead talk about failure and success with your children. Children learn by example, so set an example for them. Tell them that it’s alright to fail, its alright to loose, its alright to be rejected. Teach them how to deal with failure, negativity and rejection. Humans have a fight or flight mechanism. You teach them to fight, flight is the last resort when they would turn to ending their life. Teach your child to deal with problems, talk about success as well as failure. Successful doesn’t mean only career but also means how you traverse the path of life.  You can’t always expect the child to be successful.” It is important for us to talk to our children about failure as much as we highlight on success.

Gaining more insight in the matter, I spoke with Harish Iyer, Activist who has counseled several people on the brink of suicide and states that depression is the root cause for suicides. He says “There is already a lot of prejudice against those who attempt suicide we need to work at removing the shame and start building a world where people could speak freely about the fact that they feel suicidal without being told ‘only the timid attempt suicide’.” He explains “You may not want to speak about ‘suicide’ per say to your child. You need to be your child’s confidante so they could speak with you about everything and they can know that there is always a way out of anything.”

A contrary view is presented by Snigdha Gupta, Founder of HealCouch, Master NLP coach and Wellness Expert “Many  children are depressed and it’s a lonely uphill battle for most of the depressed ones. Most people think that committing suicide is a very brave thing to do and it requires lots of guts to do it. You have got it all wrong…Suicide is an impulse… It’s largely impulsive.” She continues, “In years of my NLP Counseling which mainly relies on the Subconscious brain and your 5 senses and sees situations and emotions in pictures.” Though her views on depression are similar to the other experts, “If you ask a depressed  person,  whether  he can see a picture for his future, he would generally say that it looks dark black or grey, he cannot visualize the future itself, he can only see the end. It is a state of mind, staying with negative thoughts for a long period of time causes depression, it is not a one day affair, it is a prolonged state of mind which we call it an unresourceful state of mind. The key to it is recognizing symptoms and effective communication with the patient.”

On counseling and healing methodology that she engages in, she elaborates, “NLP alters the state of unresourcefulness to a resourceful state of mind through altering Perceptions of past memories which are stored as the internal representations of thoughts since childhood.”

It is hence important that we prepare our children for life and not just for success. Failure is as much a part of the journey of life as much as is success. What matters is the quality of life that one lives, not just the numbers that one achieves, in the form of marks medals or CTC. We should hence enhance the children’s quality of life, perception towards failure and strengthen them from within to deal with rejection and dejection.

Please share your views on how you would like to address this issue.


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