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Suicidal ideation in children -- when to take it seriously?

 
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:01 pm
I remember telling my parents "I wish I'd never been born!" and "I wish I were dead" and similar things (sorry mom). It was mostly high drama.

I don't remember telling my parents "I'm going to find an gun and kill myself" or "I wish you'd kill me"; to me, this seems pretty specific and worrisome.

Is there a difference between such utterances?

When do you start to worry?

How do you know when to worry?

And if you already worry, what do you do first?
 
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:07 pm
@boomerang,
I find a difference between your first statements and the next pair, but also between your second ones.

I think each word and how it is said becomes very important when these sentences reach daylight.

worry is always present, and each kid is they're own timebomb. or not.

I'm not sure where angst ends, and true desire to be done begins.

certainly there is room for drama in between.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:22 pm
@boomerang,
Is the child otherwise unhappy? I've known kids who'd say weird, sometimes morbid, things for weird reasons while not meaning them at all. But if the child is frequently depressed I may well be concerned.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:30 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I was a weird kid who said weird things so I think I'm probably really tolerant of such things. I meant it without meaning it. I mean... I'm still here... but I'm on some serious anti-depressants and have been for years and years.

I wish my mom and dad had paid more attention.

But no... he's not otherwise unhappy in the least.

In fact, when this stuff starts the only way to stop it is to make sure he doesn't get his own way.

NOT getting what he wants relaxes him.

Freaky.
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:38 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

In fact, when this stuff starts the only way to stop it is to make sure he doesn't get his own way.

NOT getting what he wants relaxes him.

Freaky.

How precociously Zen of Mo.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:44 pm
Children are fascinated by death. As has been suggested, if the child is otherwise doing OK, no worries. But children's songs for many long years, for centuries at least, have been obsessed with death. (Although it is not true that "Ring a ring of roses" is about the plague--that's a popular myth, but myth all the same.) I also suspect that it's an attempt to push your horror button, to try to get a rise out of you when the crown prince there is in a sullen mood, or pouting about not having gotten his way.

There was a man of double deed
Who sewed his garden full of seed
And when the seed began to grow
'Twas like a garden full of snow
And when the snow began to fall
'Twas like some ravens on a wall
And when the ravens took to fly
'Twas like a shipwreck in the sky
And when the sky began to crack
'Twas like a stick across my back
And when my back began to break
Then i was dead . . .
And dead indeed.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:45 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
NOT getting what he wants relaxes him.

Freaky.


Knowing that you are there, and that you will control him if need be, calms him. It always him to be him knowing that disaster will not strike, because you will not let it. This is from parenting 101.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:49 pm
@boomerang,
Depression is hard to identify in kids. They don't display the same symptoms as adults.

boomerang wrote:
NOT getting what he wants relaxes him.

Kids want limits. If you place no limits on kids, they just get wilder and wilder trying to find where the limit is. Kids WANT you to be in charge. It makes them feel safe.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:51 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

"I wish I'd never been born!" and "I wish I were dead" and similar things (sorry mom). It was mostly high drama.

The focus and control is with the one speaking.


"I'm going to find an gun and kill myself" or "I wish you'd kill me"; to me, this seems pretty specific and worrisome.

The focus and control is given to the other person, not the one speaking.

Is there a difference between such utterances?



The second set of statements seems to be an insecurity issue.

...you better make sure you keep the guns hidden from me or I will kill myself. Can I trust you to keep them away from me so that I don't have to control myself and keep me from killing me?

...how mad can I make you before you kill me? Where are my limits? Can I trust that no matter how much I lose control of myself, that you won't kill me?


Are these statements related to the resentments about the tutor?
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 10:52 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
I don't remember telling my parents "I'm going to find an gun and kill myself" or "I wish you'd kill me"; to me, this seems pretty specific and worrisome.

Those do seem specific and worrisome. In adults, having a plan for how to kill oneself greatly increases the likelihood of it occurring.

Do you have a regular counselor?
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 11:13 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

boomerang wrote:
I don't remember telling my parents "I'm going to find an gun and kill myself" or "I wish you'd kill me"; to me, this seems pretty specific and worrisome.

Those do seem specific and worrisome. In adults, having a plan for how to kill oneself greatly increases the likelihood of it occurring.

That maybe true with adults but these statements from a teenager or younger may only be moody melodrama. I'd be worried more about depressed and reclusive children and teenagers who don't communicate anything at all. Anecdotally, many teenage suicides that make it to the media, the parents are seemingly caught off guard about their child's suicide.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 01:26 am
When I was living 'tribal' my neighbour had her 12 yr old son slash his wrists. She took him to the hospital and on the way home told him how to do it properly, by cutting along the wrist, not across it. She also told him not to try to blackmail others by threatening suicide or she would kill him herself. He never attempted it again.

You have to know in great detail the person you are dealing with, and what will work to discourage them. There is no blanket solution.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 01:39 am
http://www.youthbeyondblue.com/parents-and-carers/

http://www.youthbeyondblue.com/help-someone-else/

Many different factors can contribute to depression and anxiety in young people. When it happens, it’s no-one’s fault. The important thing is that depression and anxiety are identified and treated early " left untreated, they can lead to underachieving at study or work, misuse of alcohol and drugs, and an increased risk of suicide.

What to look for

Depression doesn’t just cause young people to feel sad or down, and anxiety doesn’t just make people worry. Teenagers can express depression and anxiety in many different ways. They may:

* have trouble falling or staying asleep, or complain of restless, unsatisfying sleep
* be tired, grumpy, irritable, tearful or upset most of the time
* feel restless, keyed-up or on edge
* lose interest in things they used to enjoy, and have trouble starting and completing assignments or work
* be forgetful, lose concentration and be easily distracted
* become withdrawn and lose friends
* either refuse to eat or eat a lot, and either lose or gain weight quickly
* have tense or sore muscles
* complain of feeling physically awful, with unexplained aches and pains, and not want to go to school.

0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  6  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 02:27 am
@boomerang,
Well, technically speaking, you assess via a kind of series of indicators.

Person says they want to kill themselves.

With a child I would always be concerned anyway, because they don't generally (unless a significant adult or experience has made them think of suicidal language as a normal way of getting attention...and then it's potentially serious if they have such an example.)

Do they have a plan to do so?


If they have a plan, do they have the means?

Have they been doing anything like give stuff away, saying good bye to people/pets?

Has there been a change in their behaviour or affect?

Are they doing the things they normally do with the same enthusiasm?

Do they "feel" right to you, if you know them well?

Are they feeling hopeless about whatever is worrying them, life generally?



If they have a realistic plan and means, TAKE AWAY THE MEANS and bloody well watch them.

That is a true crisis situation, and one where responsible adults need to get the kid help.

I'd most definitely consider a professional.

I'd also be finding out from child what is leading to them feeling this way?

Often, just talking about the issues is the key...especially if the child is catastrophising a normal life event, or has a specific worry.

It's thought that a number of childhood "accidents" can be attributed to suicidal behaviour.

Hell, I tried to kill myself when I was seven or eight (low lethality, but I sure as hell needed help because of an awful family situation...of course, being as how the family situation was awful, I didn't get said help!)


It sounds as though this kid is feeling pretty damn bad, and it is necessary to take their distress very seriously.

Guns and boys are a bad combination. Boys tend to make suicidal gestures or attempts less often than girls, but they tend to be more lethal when they do it.


Really, only lots of careful discussion and assessment is the only way to gauge seriousness, and I think it would be good to talk it over with a professional familiar with kids, even if kid isn't taken to see said professional. It's way hard to get a real sense of it from what you have said, but I'd sure as hell rather err on the side of caution (without displaying overt hysteria).

If a young person knows someone who has killed themselves, or someone who has made a recent attempt, the risk rises a great deal.

Adolescence is a risk factor.


Boomer, if you wanted to email me with any details you don't want to be too public, feel free. Or not, of course!!!





0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 02:29 am
@boomerang,
Well, hell.

You'd NEVER give in to kid who used that as blackmail!

if it IS Mo, does his birth family have anyone in it who he would have heard saying **** like that?
0 Replies
 
Izzie
 
  4  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 03:58 am
@boomerang,
Quote:
what do you do first?


trust your gut instincts

if your instincts are making your heart beat a little too fast and you're asking questions here... seek profesionnal help immediately. Even then, don't trust them but listen, trust your gut instincts. You know him best.

Words can change to actions with the flip of switch in some cases. Be knowledge prepared.

I pray that he is just verbalising. Perhaps remove obvious means without making a show of it, tho, that can be difficult etc

(R-boy was 11. 2 weeks before he started secondary school. A change in life was too much to cope with - he let us know)
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:25 am
I think that most suicides by adolescents are accidental. - hanging, drug overdoses, bullying issues, love exaggerations, etc. - that are really high drama stuff and quite impulsive .

Adults seem to plan out more. They have more access to guns and higher forms of methods to end their lives.

In any case, making sure kids have the vocabulary and the place to express their feelings is important. Even then, it's hard to know what's in their minds. Keep talking to your kids.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 07:46 pm
Thank you all for your replies. I'm still processing them but I apologize for it taking me so long to get back here.

I'm really not sure where this is coming from -- where it might have been heard or where the idea of suicide even might have come from. Is that somethng little kids are even aware of? If so, where does that awareness even come from?

You know, if I was talking about a pre-teen or a teenager I might be able to understand it a bit more. I'm talking about a young kid. That's what bothers me.

My "horror button" has definately been pushed.

The thing about feeling sick and missing school is interesting. Mo has never missed a day of school for feeling sick until the last month.... and he's missed two in the last month.

When I question him about problems at school I get nothing. When I talk to his teacher I get nothing.

We are currently in a "rage cycle". It's not uncommon around here. I'm hoping we're at the peak and things will calm down (today has been pretty good!)

Uh-oh. I've got to run.... life calls.... I'll try to get back later.

Dlowan, I might take you up on the PM offer. I don't want to bother you with it until I really think it's a concern. Thank you for the offer.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 07:50 pm
Oh gosh... one more thing...

Rest assured that there are no accessable guns in my house. We have a gun that we take when we go camping (we live in cougar/bear country after all). When we aren't camping it is unloaded and locked in our safe.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:05 pm
@boomerang,
Holy crap. My own heart rate has shot through the roof just reading this -- I can't begin to imagine how hard this must be for you to deal with.

Glad dlowan has stopped by -- her advice, as always, looks very good to me.

In terms of age, I'm sure that sozlet is aware of the concept of suicide. We've had three in my family (before she was born, nobody she met, but she knows how they died). It's something that comes up now and then for whatever reason (song lyrics maybe, or book content).

Sure hoping that things are in fact at their peak and will calm down.
0 Replies
 
 

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