A young girl I know tried to commit suicide recently. She didn’t succeed, thank God, but it made me think about what makes a child want to commit suicide. Is it getting bullied? A bad grade? Moving from one location to another? The loss of a friend? Parents getting divorced?
It could be ANYTHING. Anything can trigger it. Life is filled with triggers. We, as adults, feel the triggers too. Life will never be perfect, for any of us.
What can we do to help prevent this though? Well, I’m not an expert (but I will recommend a book written by an expert later) but I do know one thing; we need to teach our kids how to feel. In my humble opinion, if our kids knew how to deal with their emotions, they would not be so quick to leave their world behind.
What makes a person lose it, really lose it? Besides having a chemical imbalance, which is a different conversation altogether, most of us have never been taught how to recognize and deal with our emotions.
Do you know how many feelings humans have? A ton! Can you name a handful of them? The basic ones are happy, sad, mad and glad. But there are many, many more. Why do we not know them all?
If we taught our kids at a very young age to recognize exactly how they feel they could;
1. Know that it’s okay to FEEL. Anything and everything. We are nothing but a big bag of feelings, after all!
2. Feel safe to communicate with us about their feelings, allowing us to help them work through them, and not feel so alone.
3. Learn how to help themselves for life, and help others cope in an imperfect world.
What I’ve learned is that most people (especially adults) do not even recognize what they’re feeling. They may know that they feel angry or sad, but they never question that anger or sadness. They just react; I need a divorce. I need to move. I need a new job. I need to kill myself. Most of us never dig a little deeper into why we feel what we feel. But if we did we’d see that maybe we’re just afraid of something, and when enough light is shone on something it’s not so scary any more.
There’s all kinds of scientific research out there on how our thoughts/feelings create our experiences. And as parents, your feelings create your children’s experience. So get a grip, and then teach your kids how to get a grip. Their life is on the line.
For a wonderful book on understanding your teen and what signs to look for in a suicidal teen read Life Seen Through Your Teen’s Eyes by psychotherapist Suzanne Wirth.