This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Couples YouTube channel.
Suicide is a real issues for our teenagers today. There are popular shows out there that are in some ways glorifying suicide as a brave act. Social media is abuzz with stories of teenagers who are overwhelmed with life and contemplating suicide. As parents, we need to be aware of this issue and ready to engage with our teens on this matter.
Suicide Is a Growing Problem
Here are some important facts to consider:
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among U.S. teens.
- Girls attempt more often but boys are more successful.
- Dr. Francis Jensen’s research shows that the frontal lobe of the brain is the last to develop and this is where the executive decision center is housed. This is how we make choices and weigh consequences and assess risk. Teens are still developing in this area so they often times make impulsive decisions without weighing the consequences first.
Watch for the Signs of Suicide
Take notice if your teenager says things like they are a burden or that they wouldn’t be missed if they were gone. Pay attention to mood, sleep patterns, and eating habits. Also, be aware if they pull away from activities that they used to enjoy. Another important thing to watch out for is what your teens are googling on their computers or what they are talking about on social media. This can tell you a lot about what they are dealing with or thinking about.
The Answer Is a Conversational Culture in Your Home
If you want to know how your kids are really doing, start having meaningful conversations. Ask your teenagers how they feel about life and what’s going on with friends. Create a trusting environment that invites your kids to talk with you in an open and honest way. Use the pursueGOD library to help you to find a topic that would be of interest to your teen and then have a conversation about it. It’s simple and it creates opportunities for you to really hear from your teenager.
If you see any of these signs, talk with your teen honestly about them and get them help. Don’t wait, don’t minimize. Get in the game.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Why do you think suicide is on the rise among teenagers?
- How does understanding brain development give you insight into your teen?
- Have you seen any signs of depression or risk of suicide in your teen? Explain.
- On a scale from 1-10, how open do you think your teenager is with you right now? Explain. How can you improve as a parent?
- Read Proverbs 22:6. How can meaningful conversations help you to train up your kids? What are some topics you feel like you need to cover with them?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.