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Suicide and Shakespeare

Take Control of the Conversation

I’ll summarize the paragraphs below quickly: you can either control the conversation around suicide with your children or you can let the world control it for you. At a very young age kids have access to the Internet, social media, and their friends. They WILL learn about this sensitive subject from one source or another. My recommendation: YOU CONTROL THE CONVERSATION. Currently, according to the CDC, suicide is #2 in deaths for 10-14 year olds and #3 for 14-18 year olds. Those numbers are mind-boggling, and not because of Shakespeare. So, don’t hide from it, embrace it and control it.

I do not get this question as much as I would expect, but it comes up frequently enough that I want to write my thoughts about it. Mainly for you to understand not to be afraid of Shakespeare with your kids. Suicide is a scary topic no matter who you are, but especially when you’re talking about younger kids. However, what I’ve learned after doing Shakespeare for Kids plays for over 20 years: first, most parents don’t even blink twice about the melodramatic nature in which I write about the deaths in Shakespeare, I keep it light. However, for those worried that this might bring the idea of suicide into their kids’ minds, keep one thing in mind, with today’s social media and Internet availability to kids, their knowledge of items is far greater than ours was when we were their age. That being said, they probably already know more than you realize about the subject. But, the reality is, they WILL learn about this one way or another. So you have a choice as a parent: you can either control the conversation or you can let the conversation unfold from their own resources. This being: social media, their friends, and anything they may want to Google on the internet. And who knows what they are going to find and what they are going to learn from their friends and the internet.

To be honest, as a parent of three, I want to control the conversation. Because who knows what my kids are going to bring up? Perhaps during my conversation with my kids, I stumble upon something that makes it a saving moment for their own minds. I WANT them to understand the dynamics of why something happened and what they should do if they know somebody who is having similar feelings or thoughts. Because, let’s be honest, with the known suicide rates, most likely they WILL come across this. As I already mentioned, it’s #2 among kids as young as TEN YEARS OLD. It’s the #3 cause of death among teens. It is imperative for the parent to control the conversation. You need to put the information you want forward to your children, not their friends, not the Internet, and not social media especially.

11% of teenage deaths in America are by suicide, according to the CDC.

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By brendan kelso

Brendan is the main creative source and author behind Playing With Plays and the infamous Shakespeare for Kids series. You can typically find him inventing by day, playing with his family by night, and writing by very late night.

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