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Teen Suicide

Tags: parent kid family
Recently, I read in the news that a teen couple had made a suicide pact, and carried it out at an idyllic location not far from where I live.  Certainly, people commit suicide all the time, even if often it is not made a fuss of in the media; at one time, TV news never hesitated to make hay with such incidents, and kept it in the limelight for weeks.

I don't know who the young people in this incident are, but I am sorrowful in the abstract, and that's the way I want to keep it.  How are we to console the parents?  Wouldn't the parents feel that all their friends and neighbors would be critical of them as a matter of course?  Wouldn't we be critical; wouldn't we suspect that there must have been something someone could do to head this crisis off at the pass?  This horrible sense of being out of control is getting to be a dull roar in the background, and here we are, thinking that a dull roar is preferable to a howling alarm.

First of all, we have to remember that in 2016, the diversity among our friends and neighbors, even in our almost comically racially homogeneous region, is far greater than ever before in its history.  Even in a little township that consists entirely of white, middle-class families, the family cultures vary widely from one family to the next.  In one home, the family lovingly brings up their kids, but places high expectations on them.  In another, the kids grow up without much interference from their parents, but they place high expectations on themselves, determined to do better than the old folks.  It's almost impossible to get a feel for the psychodynamics of the home environment of a given family; I can hardly describe the psychodynamics of my own home objectively.

More, young people these days have a difficult time handling the difference between how they deal with modern technology and life, and how their parents do it--or don't do it.  Some kids are patient with the dysfunctionality and the technophobia of their parents, others are the opposite: they deplore how their parents interact with technology.  But even the seeds of how a child responds to new problems with culture and family, are found in the way they were brought up as infants: how they were handled when they threw a tantrum in the grocery store; how the parents responded to "unreasonable" requests from the kids, for a car at age sixteen, or new sneakers, or whatever.  And not least, the way the self-worth of a young person influences his interaction with his peers, especially romantic prospects, and how a young man responds to emotional demands from someone he loves is very complex.  And also, our desire to be generous with our support is at war with how much we feel we can offer without being irresponsible in financially hard times.

No parent can be certain that they have brought up their kids in such a way that the kid, or kids, can be comfortable with coming to them with a problem under all circumstances.  If that is the case with you, just be happy; you are very lucky.  If that is not the case, you have to try to move the situation in the right direction, but I have no words of advice!  You have to learn this from your own parents, and if you survived your childhood in spite of your parents, then it will be a supreme effort to develop a better model of parenting on your own.  On the other hand, if you were lucky to have a good model, you must ask yourself whether your children were enough like you and your siblings for this model to work!

Those who think seriously about being effective parents are probably not the ones whose children face tragedy, but we live in troubled times.  Part of what we have to do is to suffer tragedy gracefully, which is a tall order.


This post first appeared on I Could Be TOTALLY Wrong, But ..., please read the originial post: here

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Teen Suicide


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