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trolltoll's avatar

If your child told you that the way you were treating them made them want to kill themselves, how would you react?

Asked by trolltoll (2570points) June 5th, 2016

Question in the title.

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12 Answers

Stinley's avatar

I would take it as a huge call to action for both of us. Some very severe soul searching for me and immediate intervention and help for my child. I love my girls so much, it’s really hard to think of either of them in that dark place. I would believe them that they felt that way about me but I hope that our relationship is good enough that we could work things out together

Jeruba's avatar

Is this hypothetical, or are you the child who has said this to a parent?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I would begin by gauging the likliehood of the kid following through with the threat, then assess the validity of the accusation. In my own case, the inflated opinion of myself would normally restrict the time devoted to analysis of such a statement to seconds at best. And the proper response to such an accusation in the overwhelming number of these events is “Good! It’s my job, and clearly I’m doing it well.”

trolltoll's avatar

@Jeruba I was the child about 11 years ago.

trolltoll's avatar

@stanleybmanly I take it you have kids who are prone to histrionics?

ibstubro's avatar

It all depends on the kid, and the family dynamic. The response could be anywhere from ducking into the bathroom for a private snicker, to calling Child Services.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Since I know my own children, if one of them said this I’d be very upset and concerned about whatever they said I had done to either cause their pain or about whatever had happened in their life for them to feel that way about me. I’d probably seek guidance and advice from someone outside the situation who could look at things rationally and without emotion. When they said it, I would undoubtedly immediately feel sad, but I’d spend some time evaluating whether my actions had caused their pain or whether there was more to the situation and I was the scapegoat.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@trolltoll The fact is that neither of my kids ever said such a thing to me. I think kids are pretty much aware of just which adults are susceptible to such dramatic displays and few teenagers willingly court the ridicule and laughter that they assuredly knew would follow such an outburst.

Response moderated
Seek's avatar

I agree with @ibstubro.

My kid, for instance, is prone to hyperbole and melodrama. That’s just his personality. Every time we go to the park it is the “best thing that happened in my LIIIIIIIIFE!” and every time he loses at Super Mario Bros. it’s “Uuugh, I’m going to kill myself if I don’t beat this level THIS TIME”.

He consistently gets the Academy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Melodrama.

Buttonstc's avatar

It would definitely get my attention if a child of mine said that to me and I would ask him why he felt that way and actively listen to whatever he’s saying.

Would it change anything I do? That depends entirely upon the personality and the nature of the child. If he were like @Seek described then it probably wouldn’t change anything and I’d chalk it up to just having a bad day.

We would definitely have a conversation about it tho.

It would also depend upon the age of the child. The teenage years are such a difficult time for kids. It’s highly unlikely that a five year old would even know how to begin to kill himself.

A teenager is a totally different situation. You really can’t ever totally dismiss someone speaking about suicide, especially a teen, so there would definitely be some extra conversations and vigilance, no matter how histrionic their personality is.

JLeslie's avatar

I think I’d make my kid go to a therapy session with me. If it was just my kid saying it jokingly, I’d emphasize threatening to kill oneself is not something to cry wolf about, and explain why.

It’s so difficult to know with teenagers when they truly feel desperate, and it is not uncommon for them to feel miserable, that you need to know when they are really at their wits end.

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