The news of a 10th grader committing suicide gave shivers to my spine; it left my brain numb for quite some time. Reading the excerpts from her suicidal note, a 3-page note that was crying loud, of suffocation and helplessness. One can only imagine the tremendous pressure she would have gone through both from her family & peer. Not pointing fingers or shifting blames, but we as a community, (each one of us) are responsible for all such lives who lose hope, who lose trust in themselves and also in us. May her soul rests in peace !!!
Come to think of it; teenage brings immense biological, hormonal as therefore psychological challenges. We have all gone through that stage of feeling a tad bit awkward about our bodies, being more conscious of our selves, some of us even spend more time checking out themselves in the mirror. We were more attracted to others than about understanding & accepting ourselves. Puberty was hitting us !!
Only a few of us, we’re fortunate to have someone as our significant other to confide in. Most of us, were left to learn by hit & trial. And learning from our mistakes was only possible if at all, we realized that the approach we used was probably not the correct/ right thing to do. That’s where the peer & family have a role to play of support, of understanding & if nothing else just by being there for each other.
In our lives, all of us are moving towards the ultimate path that had been pre-designed for us (that’s what I believe) the only choice that we have, is to choose our reaction to the situations. In this episode, where the young girl had no support from her significant others & sadly zero confidence or faith in her self, she did what we all hope and wish, should not have happened. Was it possible to have avoided?
I am not a subject matter expert, but I am a Mother, so here are my 2 cents…
1. Sense & Sensibility !!
Be sensitive towards the early signs of withdrawal in your teenager, even in the name of privacy. Please don’t mistake me; personal space is different from retreat.
2. Know the peer/ the friends !!
It’s important to know the kind of habits & likings the peer has. It’s a clear reflection of the choices your child has made & it will influence his/ her decision-making while addressing any challenging situation.
3. Support and not Discourage !!
Your child is living in a world which has very different challenges to be handled outwardly, but trust me inside nothing has changed. You were in the same boat some decades ago.
4. Hobbies as Therapies !!
Health mind resides in a healthy body. Encourage (not force) your child to select a hobby of his/her choice. Something that allows them to loosen up & takes the stress off. Use hobbies as relaxing therapies.
5. Share your Wrongs !!
Let them know you are not perfect; nobody is. Share the mistakes that you have made while exploring this journey called LIFE & also share the consequences you had to face. Let them make their own mistakes but be there to hold if they need you.
Life is not a race; it’s your very own unique journey with your child of growing up together. So enjoy it !! Start your day with the same joy, the sheer bliss on your face when you first held “your tiny bundle of joy” in your arms.
It’s always easier said than done, but it’s not that difficult also to look at the world through your child’s eyes. And I can bet, they have a much better & brighter vision of the world than most of us.
We all may have our own pressure situations to handle, financial commitment to keep & need for achievements to satisfy, but we as grown-ups also have this responsibility towards the next generations & towards the community. Parent or not, we all are part of the larger family, a larger community (Vasudhev Kutumbakam– the world is my family) !!