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13 Apr 2004

Suicide survivors
Hi Doc,
My neice is 4 years old. Her dad - my brother - committed suicide last year. She has been affected by his death - she started stuttering after he died. She did not see his body after his death, and we told her that her daddy had gone to heaven. She has now started asking questions about how her dad died. How do we deal with this, especially since she's so young?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Red,
I have already responded to this question, the other time you posted it here. Suicide Mom's response is very helpful --- yes, kids often handle the basic facts far better than we expect ; but it is important that we listen to them, and give them an opportunity to speak their ideas and feelings, and to find closure in a way that is appropriate to their age and personality. A child as young as 4 may be worrying more about why she was left behind, perhaps feeling deserted, and may want reassurance that Dad loved her very much, and didn't want to leave her alone, which is why there are other people who also love her very much, caring for her now.
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