Suicide is a grave matter and now days we hear a lot about children committing suicide. They take this step when they feel hemmed in by circumstances and pressure both at home and at school. As a child enters teen age, he becomes aware of sexual feelings and is confused about how to handle them. He is expected to do well in school and to conform to how his parents and society expect him to behave. With all these rules to follow he feels anxious and lost.
Most teenage children get over these feelings of frustration by talking to their family members, friends, religious teacher or counsellor in school. They may play strenuous games to get rid of their nervous energy. However some children do not have a support group to fall back upon and are unable to handle the feeling of isolation. These are the children who contemplate suicide.
Warning signs in teenage kid’s behavior
Usually there are warning signs before such a step is taken. When a teen is stressed about the death of someone, divorce of parents, bad grade in school or quarrel or breakup with a person he is romantically involved with, he is more vulnerable and starts thinking of ending his life. The signs parents should look out for are:
- When a child starts withdrawing from family and friends.
- He loses interest in activities which he previously liked.
- His eating, sleeping and daily routine habits undergo a change.
- He talks about going away, death or suicide.
- A feeling of guilt or hopelessness is apparent in him.
- He is unable to think clearly or concentrate on anything.
- His driving may become reckless or he may start taking drugs or alcohol.
Probable causes of teenage suicide
Children reach this increased risk state because of a number of factors:
- If they are not able to communicate their feelings to their families and friends and feel alone and let down.
- A child may be beaten for small mistakes at home or is not able to keep up with school work and fails again and again. He has low self esteem, feels beyond redemption and hopeless, leading to depression.
- Those children who suffer from physical or sexual abuse.
- Some children lean towards homosexuality and may face censure from family and friends.
- Some psychological disorders like bipolar disorder, depression and alcohol and drug use which impact the brain.
- Depression and suicide may run in some families.
Tips for Parents for prevention
Parents can play a major role in spotting signs of suicidal tendencies and proactively take steps o prevent it.
The most important thing is to watch for any change in behaviour. If your teenage child suddenly takes to being alone or seems depressed or his grades fall, it can be a sign of trouble. If your child is concerned about what may seem to you a small matter, take it seriously. The situation may seem insurmountable to him. Discuss the matter with him and express your concern support and love. He should not feel alone. A close relative or a counsellor can be roped in if the child is more comfortable in talking to a third person.
Although it is a difficult thing to do, if your child talks of suicide or hurting himself ask him directly. You can say that you are concerned about his feelings and want to help. If you have an inkling that your child is thinking about suicide, get help at once. You can ask your doctor to refer you to a psychologist who can evaluate your child’s mental state. If the situation calls for it, you can go to the emergency room of a hospital. They can refer you to the appropriate consultant.
Even if the child says he is feeling better and does not want to visit the doctor, make sure that you take him. If such thoughts enter his head again, he should be equipped to deal with them. In case the child is adamant about not going, you should go and discuss everything with the doctor. Together you can work out ways to decrease the risk of suicide.
Family atmosphere is of great importance. If your child and you cannot communicate properly, enlist the help of a health professional. The doctor should know if there are family problems or substance abuse in your home. He can then help you towards the constructive approach so that your child does not feel isolated or misunderstood.
If the child’s friend has committed suicide help him to cope with the loss. He may feel guilty for not being able to help his friend or angry that his friend has taken such a step. Explain to him that it is alright to feel what he is feeling and that there is no right or wrong reaction.