6 Truths for Raising Children Experiencing Loss from Suicide

As a child, losing a parent is a painful experience. When the parent was brought to the low point of choosing their untimely death by suicide, trauma worsens the suffering. 

6 Truths for Raising Children Experiencing Loss from Suicide

  1. Grief is complicated, with many layers to work through, but there will come a time when you will realize that even though it will never be okay that your loved one chose to take their life, you and your children have the choice to move forward with time. You all will be okay in life by trusting in the sovereignty of God. Nothing, even suicide, happens in our lives that has not been filtered through God’s loving hands (Ecclesiastes 8:8). 
  2. Processing the loss will be a journey that will take time and may be painful to watch. There is no quick fix. For years, children are unable to fully comprehend the impact of this loss and the choice that was made, but when they do, they might wrestle with the pain of rejection and abandonment, even if your loved one believed they were choosing to lay down their lives in a selfless way. Do not shy away from talking with them about this death by suicide as they grow. Model forgiveness and lead your children to do the same. Point them to God as the one who heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3) and promises to be a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). 
  3.  Do not fear living under a generational curse. Ezekiel 18 teaches otherwise. Everyone stands before God with their own need for forgiveness and a personal relationship with God. The enemy will try the same schemes that worked in the past, but just because suicide has taken place in your family does not mean that your children will succumb to or cannot stand against this wicked spirit. The generational impact of suicide can become a positive force in telling the next generation the story of God’s faithfulness.
  4.  Teach your children about spiritual warfare. They must be aware of the spiritual forces of darkness against us (Ephesians 6:12). We all fight the battle that is not against flesh and blood but against Satan, whose goal is to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). Be aware that there is a war raging. 
  5. Do not walk in shame. Suicide was not your choice. Allow God to use what was meant for evil for good (Genesis 50:20). The greater loss is when the enemy continues to use this tragedy against you, keeping you and your kids from living life abundantly as God has planned. 
  6. Take the mention of suicidal thoughts or ideation seriously. This does not mean that you need to panic, but ask God for wisdom if your child, a friend, or a loved one talks about suicide or if they have thoughts of suicide. Take these conversations seriously, keep the conversation going, and call for professional help. 

God has a beautiful plan for your life, even when experiencing loss from suicide. Lead your children to put their trust in God, who is able to restore their souls (Psalm 23:3). He will be a Father to them in the absence of their earthly dad. 

(If you are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Suicide Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States; please call 988).