Your child said he is suicidal: Say this, not that

I get hundreds of messages and comments from children, teens and young adults monthly about how parents respond to “mom/dad, I have been having thoughts of suicide.” I then advise these kids to tell a teacher or a school counselor when a parent isn’t responding.

So if you hear that confession, respond with, “I am so sorry. Tell me more. I am here to help in any way I can.” Then do more listening and no lecturing. Many parents respond appropriately but some do not.

Read more...

Addiction: Say this, not that

Note: I want to comment that sometimes the person addicted is a spouse. And because they’ve never gotten help and you’ve lived with it, you can no longer tolerate being part of that relationship. I understand that.

Don’t say: I guess you’ll just have to hit rock bottom before you change
Say instead: I believe one day you will find recovery.

Don’t say: I can’t live with you! You cause nothing but chaos to this family!
Say instead: Your father and I cannot live with you. But we love you and it doesn’t mean we don’t want to be in … Read more...

Loss of a child: Say this, not that

Don’t say: At least he’s in a better place now
Say instead: I know you miss him every day

Don’t say: I couldn’t survive losing a child
Say instead: I can’t fix your hurt. But I can listen

Don’t say: Call me if there is anything I can do for you
Instead say: I will be over at 4 pm to take Sara to soccer.
Is that OK?

Don’t say: I know exactly how you feel. I lost my great grandfather last year.
Instead say: I don’t know how you feel. Can I give you a hug?

Don’t say: You … Read more...

Suicide: Say this, not that

Don’t say: You have so much to live for!
Say instead: Tell me more about how you feel

Don’t say: You shouldn’t feel that way. You have so much going for you.
Say instead: How long have you been feeling this way?

Don’t say: Promise me you won’t attempt suicide
Instead say: Please put me on your call list if you are struggling. And while we’re at it, let’s put in some crisis lines now.

Don’t say: I remember when I had a breakup and I got over it and you will to. You’ll find someone else.
Instead say: That … Read more...