Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Help! My 12-y-o is suicidal

Published:Monday | October 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Q. I was reading Positive Parenting section of The Gleaner dated Monday, April 12, 2010. I saw that you are one who works with children, so I write to you seeking some professional help with my daughter. She is 12 years old and was always a very nice child until something really, really terrible happened to her and she is making threats of suicide and threats of running away. I really need some help for her before she goes through with any of those plans, please help me before it is too late.

A. Please get in touch with a counsellor from your church, or the school that your child attends. They will provide you with the basic help that you need. If your daughter needs specialised counselling or psychological services these counsellors are trained to refer you to the appropriate professionals. If there is any physical harm to your daughter, ensure that she gets medical attention right away. Remember to keep saying positive things to her and let her, know that you are doing your best to help her through this experience.

Q. My parents are from the old school. They want to beat for everything. How do I convince them not to beat my children when they visit. My parents help me with babysitting the children, who are eight and six, as I am going to school in the evenings.

A. Talk with your parents without your children present. Ask them why they beat the children, and after listening to them recommend other ways by which they may punish the children. Speak with your children privately and ask them about what is happening and why they think they are beaten while at their grandparents house. Remind your children to be respectful to their grandparents. If this does not work, you may need to pursue other babysitting options.

Q. I am so frustrated with my son. At 15, all he wants to do is dance. When he got into a good high school I thought yes, now he can be a doctor, lawyer, educator anything professional. Even though he goes to school he does not do much work. There is no father - he died tragically when our son was eight months old.

A. Sit with your son and make it clear to him the consequences of not doing well in school. Remind him of the school rules as they relate to poor schoolwork. Share with him that whatever profession he desires in life, he will need basic academic skills to ensure that he understands basic concepts that will help him when he has to sign contracts. Talk to him about real life issues such as paying bills and respecting others, and other issues that are needed for daily survival. Ask your church pastor or counsellor, guidance counsellor, or a male role model he respects, to speak with him.

Orlean Brown Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston.