- Has committed suicide
- Had a friend/family member commit suicide
- Has attempted suicide (more than once in one case)
- Has a child with severe problems
What's in common in all this (other than the obvious) is that these people felt that they couldn't talk to their parents (or, in one case, couldn't talk to their kids, I guess).
I'm not the most emotionally stable person in a crowd of millions, Lord knows. I've had some rocky times, especially in these last several years. What I do have is someone to talk to. Some things I can talk to my sister about, some things I talk only to one or two of my BFFs about. There are some people I can't bring myself to talk to - not about anything deep or seriously personal or troubling. But I have had someone.
Right now, I know of one young person who is dealing with some very sad and depressing feelings. She has support. I know of about 4 young people who are dealing with just the everyday worries and struggles that come with life. What breaks my heart is that they feel they cannot talk to their parents. That puts the other people they can talk to in a strange position.
I was very lucky growing up. There was nothing I couldn't talk to my mother about. I don't mean that I had no problem in telling her every and anything, but if I had a serious problem - one that affected my emotions or mental state - I could go to my mother. Her love for me was greater than any shame I might feel. Thank God, thank God. Of course I was embarrassed to talk about some things, but she somehow made it okay for me to deal with that hesitation. (It wasn't like we didn't have the awkward "Mom, do you ever have that not so fresh feeling?" moments. By the way, I always thought that was the stupidest commercial ever made...)
I believe that adults sometimes forget that kids have problems that are serious to them. We have to deal with things like bills, mortgages, college funds, putting up with bosses, spouses or jobs we loathe and other crap. A kid having a first-love fall apart or not being liked by classmates, failing a school subject, worrying about their looks, their smell, their personality, what to do after high school or college - whatever it is kids worry about might not seem like a big deal to us. I think we forget that to a young person the things they worry about weigh on them as heavy as the things we worry about. A burden is burden when you are the one carrying it, no matter how old you are.
The reason I worry about some of the young people I know is because I have personally had more than one of them tell me that they don't like talking to their parents. That scares me. I usually say something to the parents, but in some cases that's no big help.
One parent I know very well, probably doesn't think this is a big deal, but he has a personality flaw. He's just one of these people who (intelligent as he is) has a huff-and-puff impatience that permeates every pore of his being. I can't imagine his child being comfortable talking to him. I just don't see it. This parent is one of those people who seems to feel that what he can do and be, anyone can do and be. In his mind, here are no barriers to achievement of anything. This is a great attitude. For him. It's served him well. But, good God in Heaven, his kids feel so unable to live up to his expectations. And they don't feel they can talk to him.
This particular young person I know told me about a pretty minor little problem he is having. He isn't sure about a decision he needs to make. I told him to see what his mom and dad thought. His answer to that is what made me write this post. He said, "My folks? You're kidding, right?" And he laughed, but it was the least funniest thing to be said.
Parents - or whoever you are to a young person - please, please, please open your eyes, ears and hearts. Listen to your kids. Let them know there is nothing they can tell you that will make you not love them or want the best for them.
My mother was one of those people who knew her kids. A lot of times when I needed her, I didn't even have to open my mouth. She knew me and loved me. She could take my emotional temperature just by thinking about me. Maybe that's a gift some parents have. I don't know, but I think that you can learn to be better in parenting.
I'm so tired of hearing about babies killing themselves or not reaching their potential just because no one heard them.