Suicide – How To Protect Your Teen

No parent should have to bury a child … ~ Stephen Adly Guirgis

Mind The Warning Signs
Teenagers are infamous for their wild mood swings and a tendency to withdraw from their parents. As a parent it can be hard to tell the difference between “normal teen behavior” and something more serious.

Busy high-performing parents might be tempted to assume the former. Don’t!

Educate yourself about the symptoms of bullying, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Be Proactive
Don’t wait until your teen is in a crisis to step in!

If your teen seems “perfect” consider that this may be a mask, one they feel they have to present to earn your love and acceptance.

You didn’t get where you are today by wearing your troubles on your sleeve. Teens’ coping mechanisms can often mirror those of their parents. High-performers are good at hiding their weaknesses and sucking it up when times get rough.

Do everything in your power to let your teen know that you love them unconditionally. Let them know that they don’t have to be popular, successful, or even happy to earn your love.

Drop The Stigma
Society is not always kind to people who are different or struggling with mental health issues.

Be mindful of practicing kindness and inclusion towards people who are different from yourself!

There is
a serious and pervasive stigma that lives around mental health issues. Fear of being stigmatized can make it hard to ask for help.

Pair your unconditional love with unconditional acceptance, by celebrating your teen’s uniqueness and holding space for their pain.

Let them know it is okay to not feel “okay.”

Cultivate Happiness
Don’t leave happiness to chance. Be strategic about your family time. Integrate  practices that combat depression by promoting holistic well-being.

In his Ted Talk, Shawn Schor, lays out five practices you can do everyday to increase happiness:

  1. Express Gratitude
  2. Journal
  3. Exercise
  4. Meditate
  5. Perform Random Acts of Kindness

Some of these are easy to integrate into your regular family routine. For example:

  • Could each member of your family say three things they are grateful for when you sit down to dinner?
  • Once a month, could your family participate in some type of charitable giving or community service?
  • Once a week could your family go for a hike or a bike ride?

Other ideas include, but are not limited to:

  • Buying your teen a really nice journal as a gift (and resisting the temptation to read it!)
  • Signing your teen up for an extracurricular activity that will also serve as exercise.

At the very least, everyday, you can (and this is still huge!) tell your teen why you are grateful to have them in your life and do something nice for them!

Being born into a high-performing family comes with a lot of privilege and a lot of pressure. Privilege, though mostly a positive thing, can sometimes come with guilt, jealous friends, and inauthentic people. Pressure, though often considered a negative, if managed correctly can be a motivator and a self-esteem raiser!

Your kid/s are yours and just like you they have the potential to be amazing game changing leaders. They are counting on you to show them the way! 

*** Disclaimer: The advice laid out in this article does not take the place of psychiatric treatment and is not medical advice. If you feel your teen is experiencing signs and symptoms of bullying, depression, or is at risk for suicide,
seek the help of a mental health professional immediately.

By Rich Legacy Team