Too Young for Suicidal Thoughts?

At what age should you take a child’s self-harming or suicidal thoughts seriously?  8-year-old Watchful is doing these things, and his social worker doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal.

But she’s wrong.

We don’t like to think that a small child can honestly want to hurt themselves or take their own life.  But it happens. As a (bio, adoptive, foster) mom, I’ve seen traumatized children find ways to harm themselves.  I remember one child’s first plan was to find a snake to bite ’em, just like how Cleopatra committed suicide.  Seems laughable.  Same child eventually threw their self out of a moving car.  Not so funny.  At age 6.  Really, really not funny.

Another child, age 10, declared no more eating ever.  Just wait ’til that child gets really hungry and that problem will go away, right?  Um, it’s been several years and that child still has issues with chronic malnutrition and being underweight as they don’t eat sufficient food.

So now that Watchful has talked about ways he wants to die, says life is pointless, has repeatedly hit himself, has skipped at least one meal every day for over a week, talks constantly about death, blood, and bruises… well, listen up, social worker.  It’s serious!!!

Kendrea Johnson, aged 6, hung herself with a jump rope

Gabriel Myers, aged 7, hung himself with a shower hose

Brandajah Smith, aged 5, shot herself

Last week, social worker, I asked you for an urgent doctor’s appointment, but Watchful is still waiting.  His life is at risk!  So don’t just tell me that “maybe the psychologist will call next week to arrange an appointment.”

5 thoughts on “Too Young for Suicidal Thoughts?

  1. You’re absolutely right. Mental illness can manifest at any time, and it’s so important for parents to take it seriously. Throw a fit, mama. I’m praying for you as you fight for the child who is too weary to fight for himself.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So Scary! With our 8-year-old foster daughter, she would say and wanted to die and hit herself with stuff. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should take it seriously, but we eventually called the suicide hotline number and some professionals came to talk to her. It made me feel better knowing they were trained to deal with those things. Turns out, she had heard her older brother saying things like that a lot.


    1. Thanks for sharing your story. It really helps. Most of my non-foster care friends have a hard time relating and get uncomfortable. So connecting with other foster/adoptive moms who have traveled the same road makes a big difference.


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