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When/whether to tell children

(7 Posts)
Kettled Wed 06-Jul-11 13:23:01

When I was a child my father committed suicide - in a particularly horrible way - for many years it was kept a secret from me and not mentioned. I never really got over his death TBH. Now I have three lovely teenage children of my own. I skirt around any discussion of their grandfather and although their elder cousins probably know more about him, we rarely see them. Knowing how damaging this knowledge can be, my intention is to keep it secret until the children are in their 20s. Is this wise? If not, how/when should I deal with it? Nobody has asked a direct question about how he died, but this cannot be that far away, especially as he was relatively young.

feedmenow Wed 06-Jul-11 14:28:07

I think I would just tell them and be done with it.

Having never known him they will hopefully not take it too badly. Although if it was particularly horrible then maybe play down all the details a bit?


midnightservant Wed 06-Jul-11 17:39:36

kettled what a difficult thing to deal with, and something you have been carrying for so long in all its different forms. How old were you when he died, if you don't mind me asking? And how old when you found out how?

Are you happy to share ages and genders of your DCs?

Sorry for all the questions, just forming a mental picture of the structure of your situation. Off for a brew and a ciggie.

peggotty Wed 06-Jul-11 17:45:14

I'm not sure if secrets are ever a good thing. Not the same thing, but I found out as a teenager that my father had sexually abused my oldest sister, and found it very very difficult to deal with. I found out by overhearing a phone conversation. I think I would have coped a hell of a lot better had my mum sat me down and explained it all. Not great at talking about things in my family though sad Are you sure none of your children may find out from other people? Wouldnt it be better that you were the one to tell them? Is it necessary to go into any detail about the method of suicide?

Kettled Wed 06-Jul-11 19:51:26

I was 9 when he died - was told a story which i bought into (and embellished over the years) and 15 when I found out some of how he died. Well into adulthood when I found out the rest. Children were treated differently in the 70s. I expect people would be much more open now.

My girls are aged between 10 and 15.

I certainly wouldn't talk about method out of choice but what if I am asked? If you don't know the truth as a child, there is a tendency to confabulate and fill in the gaps I think, but I really don't want them to know.

Perhaps it would not impact that much on them. They never knew him, as you say - and they are quite secure, I think - but might it lead them to view themselves - or me - in a different light? Not sure I want to take that risk.

cestlavielife Wed 06-Jul-11 23:44:42

maybe it would be worth talking it thru with specialist support group/therapist to address it yourself from your perspective - and then talk about best way to tell your DC.


cestlavielife Wed 06-Jul-11 23:51:48

you could also speak to winstons wish about how to approach it national Winston's Wish Helpline (08452 03 04 05 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 08452 03 04 05 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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