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Suicidal Ideation is a fancy way of saying suicidal thoughts. It’s one of those phrases that seems to be buzzing in the air these days. It probably should be. According to research performed at the University of New Hampshire, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. It accounts for more than 16,000 deaths each year. Bullying and a lack of support from family are known to be contributing factors to this number.
Life is difficult for a child who is bullied. I dealt with many bravado-laden individuals frothing at the mouth at the chance to remind me how awful I was when I was younger. They were brutal – basically everything I said or did was met with harsh criticism. Walking home from school was the worst part of each day, but at least I had the comfort of knowing when I reached my front door the harassment would end. There was no way for them to get to me in my home.
Sadly, this is no longer the case. Cyber-bullying is and has been a hot button issue for years, yet it’s still a huge problem. It’s almost as if everyone seems to believe if you’re not nasty online you’re not really trying. Have you ever read through the comment sections of websites? Talk about festering wastelands of filth and decay…it’s a terrifying view of society. Had The Internet been online 800 years ago, Dante would have based The Divine Comedy on it instead of Hell.
“Exposure to multiple forms of victimization is especially detrimental,” says Dr. Heather Turner, professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. “These kinds of violent experiences not only represent an incredible amount of adversity in kids’ lives but they’re likely also to damage the very resources that adolescents would normally use to help cope with these kinds of things.”
Kids still have parents to help ease their burden, right? Kind of. Some children are comforted and cared for by semi-well-adjusted adults who love them for reasons other than “because they have to.” Others, however, are met with blank stares of boredom from parents who still act like children. Perhaps these people were once bullied and had no support, so the cycle continues with their children because they don’t know what to do. Perhaps they’re just apathetic, selfish individuals who care about no one but themselves. I don’t have the answer; only they do, and they’re not telling.
Regardless of what that answer is, we see this all the time. If one were so inclined, one could write a book about parents who act like children, from the mothers who dress and talk just like their teenage daughters to the fathers who lecherously pine for their daughters’ friends like Lester in American Beauty. These are the adult children, all of whom are too wrapped up in their own misery to focus on the problems of their kids.
What happens when a child has no support? For some, suicide seems like the only answer. Or they turn to other negative activities, such as self-cutting, hair-pulling or abusing drugs and alcohol. Or they have lots of sex with multiple partners. Then they have a child and the cycle begins again.
So what then, eh? Wait for the next generation to fix things? Continue to espouse an attitude of, “Yea, it’s crappy, but this is the world — might as well get used to it”?
That is an attitude unfit for an infant in a diaper, let alone members of this civilized society. Children need support from adults. They need role models. They need attention. But most of all they just need their parents to act like parents.