Do you as a parent or care giver know where your child is and who they are with at all times? I think the answer in most cases is no.
We as parents have found it difficult to juggle our lives in this chaotic world. We seem to not have enough time for our children or what is happening around us. We never want to interfere in other people’s problems but I believe it is high time we take a stand and get involved.
Our children are dying at an alarming rate through suicide or in accidents. Most of them never even have the chance to live life to the fullest than all of the sudden they are no longer sharing this earth with us.
What happened to those innocent, loving, young souls of our past generations, now you can’t even tell a child from an adult? The society is so corrupted it…it’s all about “fitting in” what happened to individuality, respect of differences, and obedience to the law?
Why would teens with their whole lives ahead of them decide to kill themselves? It’s a question that haunts parents, friends, and even strangers when a teenager commits suicide or die in an accident while out with friends.
We read about youngsters as young as 10 being involved in gangs that are raping our daughters. We read about the Lolly Lounges where adult men are taking advantage of our daughters and offering them drugs in exchange for sex. They promise the children a safe place and feed them all sorts of nonsense that they care for them and that the homes they come from is not fit for them, yet they exploit them.
Is that what the world has come to? Where we cannot distinguish right from wrong? Again I stress that all we do is read and do nothing about it. I am one of the lucky few parents that have not had to deal with any life changing ordeal as yet.
It is time we tackle the scourge that is threatening our future and get our communities back to the way it was 10 years ago. Where our children and roam freely without the worry of them being kidnapped and used in the Human Trafficking world, where they can congregate and have fun without the use of alcohol and drugs, where there is enough adult supervision. Another important factor is RESPECT to children and from children.
Why are we not teaching and instilling in our children what we were thought? Respect, responsibility and religion are the 3 things that make you what you are today. We seemed to have lost our values and morals in this fast changing society. We do not want to be frowned upon when we say no so we say yes. We worry too much about what the others have and we want to live up to the Jones’s. We need to have the authority and conviction that what we say and do is what we believe to be the right thing for our children.
With the matric and school exams fast approaching I fear that more children will go through depression, fear of expectation from parents and peers and decide to commit suicide. Now is the time to start preparing our children mentally for the challenges they are about to face and what to expect in the real world.
As you grew into your adulthood, you slowly learned that you had control of most things that happened in your life. Through experience and trial-and-error, you gained knowledge and the tools necessary to solve your problems the best that you could. However, you can recollect times when you felt completely overwhelmed and hopeless. Maybe you lost your job or found out that you had cancer. In that moment of hearing the horrible news, you may have been ready to give up. Somehow though, you managed to pull through with the resources you had and support from others.
For teenagers, sometimes their overwhelming hopelessness is enough to cause them to take their own lives. Most teens who survive suicide attempts say that they tried to kill themselves because they were trying to escape a situation that seemed impossible to deal with, or they were trying to escape overwhelming feelings like rejection, guilt, anger, or sadness. What on earth is so bad that there is no solution to it? For every problem in this world there are at least 10 solutions, it is just finding the right one at the right time.
There is an old saying“Children should be seen and not heard”, well I believe it is time we stop paying attention to that and take the time to listen and see what our children are going through on a daily basis.
What Causes These Feelings?
The kinds of problems that teenagers face may be different from those of adults, but the problems are very real to the teens that are facing them. Teenagers face the pressures of trying fit in socially, to perform academically, and to act responsibly. Teens are given more freedom which means more responsibility that they are sometimes not ready to handle. If a teen is facing a problem and has nobody to talk to, they may feel neglected, unwanted, and alone. If a teen continues to encounter their problems alone, they may become overwhelmed and think that suicide is the only way out.
How Depression Fits In
Because mental illness is the leading cause of suicidal feelings, it is important to learn how illnesses such as depression affect teenagers. Depression may lead teenagers to focus on their failures and disappointments and to downplay their own worth. Depression allows teenagers to sink into ideals that everything is hopeless and there is no reason for trying to fix their lives.
Drugs and Alcohol
Teens who abuse drugs or alcohol are at more risk to commit suicide. Alcohol and some drugs can cause depressive effects on the brain. The depressive effects of these drugs and alcohol can intensify a depression that a teen already has as well. Not only do drugs and alcohol have depressive effects on a teen’s brain, but also impair their judgment about risks and solutions to problems.
Other Reasons Teens Commit Suicide
Teens may commit suicide for other reasons as well. Maybe a teen has known a family member or friend who has committed suicide, or has been influenced by the media that suicide is a common or normal approach to solving seemingly impossible problems. For teens that do not plan their suicide, the end of their life may be a result of something as simple as the means (a gun or pills) being present at the exact moment of their desperation.
Whatever the reason may be for a teen taking his life, it is never an acceptable one. Many teen suicides could have been prevented if the lines of communication were open between a teen and someone who cared about them. If you suspect that your teen is depressed or contemplating suicide, you must treat their feelings of desperation with the utmost respect.
Do we have enough outlets or people to deal with this phenomenon?
Teenage depression isn’t just bad moods and occasional melancholy, but a serious problem that impacts every aspect of a teen’s life. Teen depression can lead to problems at home and school, drug abuse, self-loathing—even violence or suicide. But as a concerned parent, teacher, or friend, there are many ways you can help.
What can we as the community leaders and parents do?
Article written by Dinesh Adjooda who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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