I heard tragic news of a teenage girl committing suicide at my daughter’s high school. It was the saddest news ever. I felt really bad for the family and for the girl as I recognized that it was one great loss for the family, parents, and friends. A couple days later, I heard from a friend that there was another incident at her daughter’s school as well. After reading this, I went on the internet and found out that teen suicides happen very frequently and all over the world. This was tragic news. It made me really sad to think about how these kids know so little about life at this age and that they are really just beginning their lives in their teenage years. They are essentially just dipping their toes into life’s lake of innumerable possibilities- which is so precious. So why do make such a hard decision so easily? Are they even aware of their own emotions that they live in? Do they know that they can ask for help if they need it and that it is OK to not be OK? Do they anticipate the consequences they will imprint on those who have to live their lives without them? There are so many questions that I can think of. I am not blaming anyone here. I understand that sometimes, things are hard. I myself have two teenage girls and I think that’s why it hurts the most. I can almost feel the pain that the parents must be going through right now. It’s very hard to lose someone who is so precious in our hearts.
As I started thinking about all these stories I heard, I thought there had to be a solution since this is a worldwide problem. Why is this happening? From my point of view as a parent, I think that we need to stop for minute and think as that same teenager that we once were. How hard was the pressure we were under? What did we go through? Yes, you may say that we did not have any gadgets at our time, didn’t have internet etc. and yes you are right. But although we didn’t have them thirty or forty years ago, we did have something else at that time-bullies. Maybe other kinds of pressure did exist back then too, bullying was definitely there as well. I remember I was a victim of that. I did not know how to survive. I distinctly remember that it was very hard to even go to school at times. Back then, my parents were not that open for me to be able to go talk to them about it. I mean, I used to be scared of my parents. And while I had siblings, they were all older than I was. My oldest sister was 18 years older than I was. Being the youngest of four siblings… I was always the odd and lonely child. I didn’t know who to turned to, but luckily I had my pets who I used to confide in. They may not have told me how to protect myself from the bullies, but it was enough support for me as teenage girl. I would talk to them everyday. I would tell my story about what happened and my poor pets will listen to me. As I got older, I learned how to take care of myself. But I tell you- it was very hard. Then, I came here to the US. I was still a teenager at this time, but I survived. I learned about how to come out of a “shell”. I gained the confidence that was hiding somewhere inside me because it never got the chance to come out. So I got into college, finished college, got married, and then had kids.
When I had kids, I vowed to myself that I would protect my kids from any and all harm that may come their way as well as I could. I didn’t know what that meant, but at first glance of both my children when they were born as fragile, little bundles of joy, I knew that I was going to be there at every step of their lives as long as they needed me. I am not saying that I did something extraordinary, but I wanted to be there for my kids anytime they needed me. That was my promise to them, and to myself. It was my responsibility to take care of them. I know that every parent wants to do their best for their kids. Sometimes, I think we forget that they really need our help because we get so busy in our personal lives. We get winded up in our own lives and lose track of our kids lives. But in the end, we are the parents and we need to be there for them.
We, as parents, need to communicate with our kids on every possible level. If we can’t, then there are so many other ways to go and ask for help. As parents, I believe that there are three C’s that need to be met to strengthen the relationship between ourselves and our children. This will also help ourselves and our children as well.
The three C’s- communication, commitment, and compromise. These are the three things that I do with my kids. I am not saying that I am the mom who knows everything or that I never had problems with my kids growing up. All I am saying is that I have learned from my past experiences that these three central ideas are imperative. If you ask my kids, they’ll give you a list of where I went wrong in the past, but that’s ok. I am also learning, just as they are learning their lessons as well. But whatever problems we did have, we learned to talk about them and try to solve them by communicating with each other. We are also committed to each other in life. If any issue arises,we all talk about it openly with each other- myself, my daughters, and my husband. While sometimes things may became too much to deal with, at the end of the day, we all know that someone has to compromise sometime. After all, there is a solution to every problem, whether favorable or not.
Nowadays, kids have take on much pressure from studies, schools, and even from peers. High schoolers deal with the pressure of choosing which colleges to apply to. What if they don’t get into the college of their choice? What if they don’t get a spot at the college their parents want them to attend? What is going to happen to them as they get older? How will they survive?
Technology is great and can be a gift, but it can also be a curse. Kids have access to anything and everything so easily nowadays- way easier than any of us did back then. I know that technology is growing but at the same time, it’s replacing a large portion of our lives— communication. Today, if you go to a restaurant, you will see that no one talks to each other. Kids are on their phones on one side of the booth while the parents are on theirs on the other side. Some places even have a tablet to order with now so you don’t even really need a waiter! So...what happened to regular, old-fashioned but necessary talking?
Another problem are the expectations we place on our children. Many parents want their kids to go to Ivy League schools. They push their children to take AP classes without asking or considering for their child’s input or capacity of learning at a particular age. While I understand that this is only because we want the best for our children, we need to recognize how it affects our children. So what if your kids don’t go to Ivy League schools? Ivy League schools do not entail that other colleges are bad at all. It’s just a prestige that Ivy Leagues are associated with. But has anyone actually taken the time to talk to their child about their preferences?
If your kids want to become doctors, engineers, or lawyers, they can go any other colleges they want. In the end, it will give them the same education and at the end of their graduation, they will have the same degree. So then as parent, why do we put so much pressure on our children without anticipating its repercussions? These kids are still kids even though they are in high school. They are growing and learning and still need our support, guidance, and love. That’s what they need. These kids want someone who can listen to their concerns, problems, and worries. So please give them your best ear to listen to. Give them attention when they need it and don’t just ignore their cry for help by saying they are old enough to deal with issues because guess what..they can’t deal with it and this is where our job as parents comes in. Please listen to them and help them grow into wonderful adults who make you proud of their achievements no matter the situation.
Kids need our support. They don’t know any better than us. But since we are older and little wiser, we can show them a way. If not, we should at least point them in a right direction where they can get help. Nobody is perfect, but if we come together we can make a breathable, livable, and positive environment for our children. Both kids and parents can seek help in any situation that arises… all you have to do is put in that extra effort to get that help and apply it. Don’t think of what the other person will think about it. Guess what? The others probably have their own problems to deal with as well. But who cares? We are living in this world-where if we don’t take care of ourselves, our kids, and our family… then nobody will.
Again, I am not preaching anything here. The thought just came to me and I felt enabled to write my thoughts down and so I did. If I offended or hurt anyone, please remember that it is not my intention at all here. As a healer and a spiritual counselor, I am just putting the facts out there so that someone will read this and my words can reach others.
My Message :
Life is short, so live life like every second is the last and don’t waste it. You shouldn’t have to live with any regrets. God has given us the present of life, so cherish it. Believe in yourself. You can achieve anything you want in your life as long as you have faith. So just live life and enjoy it.