What Can We Do to Help Our Children?

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Teen depression is a much heavier topic than I usually like to talk about.  Having a teenage daughter and many nieces and nephews, teen depression has weighed heavily on my mind. This article may be a bit touchy or just too soon for those dealing with this topic.

As we all have seen in the media, especially of late, suicide has been running rampant.  It’s not just celebrities but people in our community and even people we know.  There are those who have been able to pull themselves out of the grip of that horrible downward spiral that has led so many wonderful people to suicide.  I know first hand the dark thoughts that can go through a person’s mind.  That feeling of despair.  The rationalization going through one’s mind making you think that you don’t matter.  I know the delusional thoughts that make you feel nobody would really miss you.

The thing that most people don’t think about is that suicide hurts so many people and so deeply that you could never imagine the pain that it actually would cause.  These dark times may feel like they last forever and you will never get out of that deep, dark pit of Hell, but you can, and with the right help, you will.

We don’t know all the reasons people get to that point.  If we knew, we would be able to stop most suicides.  For me it was depression.  For others, it may be something else.  It seems most suicides, at least around me, have been teens and young adults feeling inadequate, which leads to depression.  It seems that if one can get past that dark part of their life, they can see in harder times that it is possible to get out of it again rather than putting an end to any possibility.

Talking to Big S, my teenage daughter, there are an enormous amount of teens just in her school that are suicidal.  That truly breaks my heart.  I’ve had discussions with people who were to the point of wanting to hurt themselves.  I’ve cried with them and did everything I could to help build them up and talk them out of it.

With teen depression weighing on my mind, I can’t help but wonder what we can do to lower the number of suicides.  What can help with teen depression?  There is no surefire way to prevent it.  I understand that there are parents who have done everything and more and have still lost a child.  I am in no way an expert on this matter and I, for darn sure, don’t have a medical license.  All I am is a mother whose heart breaks every time I hear of another life taken too soon.

Most families need both parents to work in order to survive.  This is the only way to pay bills for the majority of families.  We all know that a lot of times a single parent is doing all they can to take care of their children all on their own.  I am not cutting anyone down for taking care of their families, for making sure bills get paid, that there is food on the table and a roof over their heads.  No one should ever shame another for surviving.  However, how many of us take for granted that our children are getting all the support they need?

I have gone long periods of time letting Big S come home from school and only check in on grades.  The time hasn’t taken the time to sit down with her and see how she’s truly doing.  I’m guilty of thinking that if she’s not showing any emotional stress, then she must be alright.  I later have found out that she needed a shoulder to cry on.  This realization has made me feel terrible. As her mom I should be one of the first people to know how she’s doing.  She tries to suck it up and “not burden” me. She knows that I’m usually running around like a madwoman chasing her little sisters.

I know that I need to take the time and fortify my kids.  The world is nowhere as nice as it was when I was her age and the kids were mean then.  Not only have children become more aggressively mean, but they all have social media in their faces at all times.  Kids are body shamed all the time.  They are told that they’re dumb, ugly, and worthless.  I need to help build my kids up at home, so they know that they are enough.  Everybody needs to know that they are wonderful even if they don’t fit society’s norm.  Every child needs to know that they are deeply loved. They need to know that my happiness revolves having them in my life.  Sure it’s easier for me to assume that they know this, but easy isn’t always the way.

It can be a challenge to get this message through to teenagers.  They like to stay out with friends and do after school activities.  They like to go home and just chill in their rooms.  Sometimes it feels like you never see them.  The only way to know they came home at all is that food is missing and laundry piles up.  Teenagers like to have their privacy.  I don’t care if they don’t want me overly involved. I want to make sure my kids are alright.

My kids need to know that I love them, their dad loves them, their sisters love them and that they have one huge extended family who loves them.  They need to be like a rock in the storm and stand tall and strong even when everything around them is blowing every which way.  I want them to have the self-confidence they need to stand up to the rude people of the world but still be loving and kind.  I want to be able to help them to find joy in their lives and to see them live to see how truly beautiful this world can be.

Did you know that if you text 741741 when you are feeling depressed suicidal, or just needing someone to talk to, a crisis counselor will text with you?  Many people do not like talking on the phone and would be more comfortable texting.  It’s a free service!

If you need to talk and would rather not text, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Every life matters.

 

 

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