Our expert says:
Well, J, children CAN have suicidal thinking, and can attempt and even commit suicide, from a much younger age than most people realize or want to realize. And sometimes when they have lost a parent while young, and while a clear understanding of Death hasn't developed ( OK, none of us are clear about death, but kids may not be altogether convinced thast it's permanent ) some children do have a sort of fantasy of dying so they can join the missing parent somewhere.
So such threats or attempts do have to be taken seriously, and you are right to have aranged for him to get an asessment and counselling. It's unwise to consider this just attention-seeking, as he wasn't sure you'd be coming back in to find him, and it's an awfully desperate way to seek attention.
It does sound as if he has low self-esteem, and maybe you need to chat with him about this, about why he feels like a "stupid donkey", and how much you love him and need him around.
Excellent responses from our other readers, too.
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