Linda was a seventeen year old girl. Like other girls her age, she liked going out without telling her parents. On one such occasion, she returned home and was scolded by her mother. In a fit of rage, Linda went into her room, opened a bottle of insecticide and swallowed the contents. She was dead a short while later.
Samuel was a 14 year old whose parents had decided to separate; he stayed with relatives under questionable conditions. One day Samuel disappeared. He was found 4 days later, hanging from a rope tied to a fan in a nondescript building. An apparent suicide.
We hear countless stories of teenagers who decide to take their lives for reasons that may not be clear or logical to us. In their own thinking, there is no point in continuing to live. It could be due to repeated failure in an exam, excessive bullying at school or displeasure over parents separation. Other reasons may be rejection from a loved one or substance abuse; the reasons are numerous and complicated.
SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR.
A child that is constantly unhappy without any obvious reason should be closely monitored.
A child that becomes withdrawn and displays a lack of interest in things that usually excite him or her.
Going from one emotional extreme to the other within a short time.
Sudden changes in behaviour.
WHAT TO DO
1. Create more time to attend to your child’s needs
2. The child should be carried along and considered when major decisions affecting the family are being made.
3. Children at risk should undergo counselling and should be followed up.
How do you think parents can help their teenagers go through seemingly rough times?