Opinion – What’s happening to our teens?


through the looking glassby Marianne Friesen

Speaking as a parent, I would venture to say that the worst thing that could ever happen in my life, is that I would have to bury one of my children. No matter what the reason, or the cause the death, the passing of a young one in the bloom of their youth would be a difficult cross to bear.

Death is never easy to deal with no matter how old we are and as parents we try to shelter our children from the horrors of life, and console them in the event of the passing of a family member, friend or school mate.

Recently I found myself dealing with a situation that I did not think I would ever have to handle. An innocent looking blue piece of paper from school informed us parents that a student had taken her own life.

She was only twelve!

I took a look at my girls – all three of which were in that age group and my heart ached.

The number one question is always “why?”  What could possibly make a child hurt so much that they would resort to something so final?

After speaking to the school I understand and respect the manner that they dealt with this situation. Councilors were brought in for the students, and a memorial for classmates was held. End of story. The book was closed.

Or is it?

What about the rest of us? How do we pick up the pieces? Are our children at risk and we do not see it? These are all valid questions, but where do we find the answers. It is my opinion that our “sheltered” community has been shattered by something that no one wants to talk about. If we as adults find it hard to discuss something so tragic, how can we expect our children to move ahead like nothing happened.

Suicide brings a gamut of emotions, and feelings to the surface. Most people do not even want to deal with it. It is almost like a failure, when someone you know has taken such a drastic step. Death is so final, and at ones own hands… it is almost unthinkable.

There is nothing glamorous about suicide. My family has been touched by this before, and I will never forget the pain, hurt, and betrayal that was felt by all when dealing with this crisis.

But a carpet is no place to hide the truth. We do not live in a bubble and this is something that we all need to deal with. If we hide from the truth, it will reach out and bite us one day and we will not know how to act.

One thing that I learned from this situation was to take my children seriously. If they have a problem, help them cope. Give them the tools they need to survive in this world. It is our responsibility as parents, and as a community. It is our responsibility to make sure that our children feel loved, and protected so that they do not feel that they need to resort to the same method of action.

It may seem like the end of the world when a crisis to big for us to handle comes along unexpected, but there are places you can call that will listen and help you deal with the issue at hand. Crisis lines are available for all ages, so please do not hesitate calling for yourself or to help a friend. Life is too short and precious – call someone who cares from the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

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