How to explain tough topics to children and teens, a psychiatrist explains | KOB 4

How to explain tough topics to children and teens, a psychiatrist explains

Joy Wang
Created: December 26, 2019 10:17 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— KOB 4 sat down with Dr. Scott Carroll, a psychiatrist who specializes in children, to discuss how to explain tough topics to children in light of a recent murder-suicide that occurred on Christmas Day.

Dr. Carroll said the best thing parents can do is reassure their child that they’re safe. Depending on their age, parents may not want to go into too much detail.


“When you have these type of murder-suicides, and particularly when it's a caregiver or provider who does it, they often feel that they it's both a sense of failure but also the sense that no one else can take care of my family and my family can't survive without me,” Dr. Carroll said. “So it's sort of like, on one hand it’s a bit narcissistic in the sense that you believe you're the only one who believes you can provide and take care of your family, but then if you fail in some way you can't just sort of leave your family behind."

Dr. Carroll explained that those thoughts are not logical. When someone is depressed, Dr. Carroll explained that a person can lose the ability to be logical. That concept can be hard to explain to children, especially those who are 7 years of age or younger.

“Children don't have to understand at this age. Now when you start to get to children who are older you start to get about 9, 10 and up, then you may have to give a little more detailed explanation,” he said. “Sometimes there are people who you may have to explain the concept of suicide to, which is someone might get so sad that they don't want to live anymore.”

Dr. Carroll said parents and caregivers should make sure older children and teenagers understand these topics. If they are not ready to hear about them, then it is important to not force information on them.

Copyright 2019 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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