Discussion:
What to say about a father's suicide?
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l***@yahoo.com
2019-09-17 19:59:55 UTC
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I wonder if many are going to complain to him about this letter. I hope not.


https://www.courant.com/ctnow/sns-tns-bc-fam-parents-20190917-story.html


Q: My first marriage dissolved when our son who's very sweet and happy  was just shy of three. He hasn't seen his father since and never asks about him. The child support checks abruptly stopped a couple of months ago and I subsequently learned he committed suicide. I suppose I should tell my son, who is now seven, that his father is dead, but should I tell him he took his own life?

A: No.

When it comes to giving a child information of a "sensitive" nature, the operative rule is "Tell a child ONLY what he NEEDS to know and ONLY when he NEEDS to know it."

Applying that rule to the situation at hand, an argument can be made that your son doesn't even need to know his father is dead. Given the fact that he never asks about him, I think you could wait until he's older, even a teenager. Even then, there is no point in telling your son the specifics of his father's demise. You risk nothing by leaving that out. You risk something by adding it in.
RH Draney
2019-09-17 20:32:28 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
I wonder if many are going to complain to him about this letter. I hope not.
https://www.courant.com/ctnow/sns-tns-bc-fam-parents-20190917-story.html
Q: My first marriage dissolved when our son who's very sweet and happy  was just shy of three. He hasn't seen his father since and never asks about him. The child support checks abruptly stopped a couple of months ago and I subsequently learned he committed suicide. I suppose I should tell my son, who is now seven, that his father is dead, but should I tell him he took his own life?
A: No.
When it comes to giving a child information of a "sensitive" nature, the operative rule is "Tell a child ONLY what he NEEDS to know and ONLY when he NEEDS to know it."
Applying that rule to the situation at hand, an argument can be made that your son doesn't even need to know his father is dead. Given the fact that he never asks about him, I think you could wait until he's older, even a teenager. Even then, there is no point in telling your son the specifics of his father's demise. You risk nothing by leaving that out. You risk something by adding it in.
The kid:

Who killed my father?

Mother:

The Obama administration....r
Michael OConnor
2019-09-17 20:42:53 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Who killed my father?
The Obama administration....r
It's Bush's fault!
Adam H. Kerman
2019-09-18 19:06:15 UTC
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Post by Michael OConnor
Post by RH Draney
Who killed my father?
The Obama administration....r
It's Bush's fault!
I know this newsgroup is filled with black humor, but for once, this
might be worth a serious conversation.
RH Draney
2019-09-18 22:58:20 UTC
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Post by Adam H. Kerman
Post by Michael OConnor
Post by RH Draney
Who killed my father?
The Obama administration....r
It's Bush's fault!
I know this newsgroup is filled with black humor, but for once, this
might be worth a serious conversation.
There is a serious underpinning to my contribution above...tell a kid
his father is dead and he's going to want to know how it happened...if
the question takes the form "who killed him?", the kid will grow up to
hate whoever you give as an answer...this is how vendettas get started....r
Adam H. Kerman
2019-09-18 19:04:50 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
I wonder if many are going to complain to him about this letter. I hope not.
https://www.courant.com/ctnow/sns-tns-bc-fam-parents-20190917-story.html
Q: My first marriage dissolved when our son who's very sweet and happy
was just shy of three. He hasn't seen his father since and never asks
about him. The child support checks abruptly stopped a couple of months
ago and I subsequently learned he committed suicide. I suppose I should
tell my son, who is now seven, that his father is dead, but should I
tell him he took his own life?
A: No.
When it comes to giving a child information of a "sensitive" nature, the
operative rule is "Tell a child ONLY what he NEEDS to know and ONLY when
he NEEDS to know it."
Applying that rule to the situation at hand, an argument can be made
that your son doesn't even need to know his father is dead. Given the
fact that he never asks about him, I think you could wait until he's
older, even a teenager. Even then, there is no point in telling your son
the specifics of his father's demise. You risk nothing by leaving that
out. You risk something by adding it in.
Let's cite this correctly. The author is John Rosemond.

Don't lie to the kid. At some point, someone will tell him that his
father committed suicide. Parents have this bizarre notion that
information like this is secret in any way and if they don't tell their
child, no one else will.

Do not wait till he's a teenager.

Fatherless children ask about their fathers at very young ages. Don't
lie. My guess is that by age 8 or 9, the child will be old enough to be
able to listen to a frank discussion, to ask questions, and to get them
answered.

The child will mourn even though he didn't know his father. Grief is
a natural part of life that it's impossible to insulate the child from.

Typically, parents are lying to themselves that failure to tell the
child what he needs to know is in his best interest. Really, they're
trying to make it easier for themselves.
l***@yahoo.com
2019-09-19 19:41:11 UTC
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Post by Adam H. Kerman
Don't lie to the kid.
You made some good points, but Rosemond didn't say to lie, per se.
Adam H. Kerman
2019-09-19 20:03:31 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Adam H. Kerman
Don't lie to the kid.
You made some good points, but Rosemond didn't say to lie, per se.
He flat out said to lie, making arguments in favor of the kid doesn't
need to know his father died and doesn't need to know that it was
suicide. Depending on what the mother says, it's either a direct false
statement or a lie of omission.

I'm making the point that the child will ask about his father at a very
young age, that cause of death is public information, and that it won't
take too long for the child to realize that everyone but him knows the
truth.
David Carson
2019-09-19 21:05:27 UTC
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On Thu, 19 Sep 2019 20:03:31 -0000 (UTC), "Adam H. Kerman"
Post by Adam H. Kerman
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Adam H. Kerman
Don't lie to the kid.
You made some good points, but Rosemond didn't say to lie, per se.
He flat out said to lie, making arguments in favor of the kid doesn't
need to know his father died and doesn't need to know that it was
suicide. Depending on what the mother says, it's either a direct false
statement or a lie of omission.
No, he didn't. Read it again. I'm pretty hardcore about believing that
parents shouldn't lie to their kids about anything - even Santa Claus -
and I agreed with everything in your first response, but nothing you wrote
contradicted the material you quoted. I don't care for Rosemond's wording
and emphasis ("ONLY what he NEEDS to know," etc.), because it can too
easily be construed as advocating lying (and who knows, maybe that's even
what he meant) but as Leonna responded, he didn't actually say to lie. It
isn't a "lie of omission" to not volunteer information to someone when he
hasn't asked for it or even expressed any curiosity about it, even if you
think he *ought* to be curious, might be better off knowing, or definitely
will need to know someday.

All that being said, I still favor telling the kid sooner rather than
later. That doesn't mean NOW, but soon. Waiting for him to ask isn't a
good plan.

David Carson
Adam H. Kerman
2019-09-20 03:59:50 UTC
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Post by David Carson
Post by Adam H. Kerman
Post by l***@yahoo.com
Post by Adam H. Kerman
Don't lie to the kid.
You made some good points, but Rosemond didn't say to lie, per se.
He flat out said to lie, making arguments in favor of the kid doesn't
need to know his father died and doesn't need to know that it was
suicide. Depending on what the mother says, it's either a direct false
statement or a lie of omission.
No, he didn't. Read it again. I'm pretty hardcore about believing that
parents shouldn't lie to their kids about anything - even Santa Claus -
contradicted the material you quoted. I don't care for Rosemond's wording
and emphasis ("ONLY what he NEEDS to know," etc.), because it can too
easily be construed as advocating lying (and who knows, maybe that's even
what he meant) but as Leonna responded, he didn't actually say to lie.
The two of you are refusing to acknowledge a lie of omission. That's
what this is.

The child needs to know his father is dead at a very young age. The
writer says it could wait until he's older, even a teenager.

Waiting much beyond age 8, when he needs to know, becomes a lie of
omission.

He concludes by stating that there's no point in telling him about the
specifics of his father's death, even at the time he becomes a teenager.

He's acting like a teenager or a pre-teen is simply not going to ask.
That's deluded.
Post by David Carson
It isn't a "lie of omission" to not volunteer information to someone when he
hasn't asked for it or even expressed any curiosity about it, even if you
think he *ought* to be curious, might be better off knowing, or definitely
will need to know someday.
If it's personal to him, like the death of his father, that's wrong. If
it's information about someone not personal to him, then that's
completely different.
Post by David Carson
All that being said, I still favor telling the kid sooner rather than
later. That doesn't mean NOW, but soon. Waiting for him to ask isn't a
good plan.
I'm actually stunned that the kid hasn't asked.

That Derek
2019-09-19 04:02:03 UTC
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... this newsgroup is filled with black humor, but for once, this might be worth a serious conversation.
Being one of the biggest proponents and diseminators of such black humour, I even thought the politically based rejoinders were inappropriate for this thread.

BTW and for the record, my family has been beset with another member's suicide.
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