Megan Linane, a parent at Gurrie Middle School and registered nurse offers additional recommendations to parents on connecting with your child, prevention and recognizing when your child may be struggling with warning signs for depression and suicide

A TALC for Children (Parental plan of care for connectedness promotion)

A= Attention. Pay attention to the emotional cues, body language, and words children choose to describe their feelings.

T= Think the unthinkable. The “It’s just a phase” may not be realistic.

A= Ask a professional, is this behavior normal?

L= Love unconditionally and tell them so often.

C= Communicate actively and physically. (Sometimes just quietly sitting beside them on the couch for some time can initiate conversation. Silence often provides time to put thoughts or feelings into words.)

  1. Educate- Parents can teach their children the importance of knowing your emotions, how to manage them, and ways to express them constructively. This enables one to handle stress, control impulses, and motivate oneself to persevere in overcoming obstacles to goal achievement.
  2. Assess Needs- Parents can usually tell when something is bothering their child, use a therapeutic communication technique here. (Broad openings; I can sense that something is bothering you? Is there something you’d like to talk about?)
  3. Identify goals- Nurture the development of self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success.
  4. Eliminate barriers
    • Electronics. Make sure you are having uninterrupted face to face time with your child. This means you too parents! (Remember the basics: family meal time, routine two minute bedtime chats have a way of turning into twenty, how was your day?)
    • Refuse the parental misconception of “Not My Child,” mental illness does not discriminate.
  5. Provide Role Models- Children often mirror image the emotions of a parent.  Continue to identify your own emotional strengths, weaknesses, and coping skills. (Admit when you lose your emotional control in front of them, nobody’s perfect!)  There is strong evidence suggesting parents need to examine their own parental socialization of emotion (PSE), which has been identified as an important and potentially modifiable component of risk for childhood depression. Parental socialization of emotion has been shown to shape the development of children’s understanding, experience, expression, and regulation of emotion.
  6. Follow up- Every day yields an opportunity for follow up. Meaningful conversations should never be ended, rather paused for the time being and continued and throughout a life time.
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