I have been saddened by the recent suicide of a young man in our community. It is still hard for me to fathom that parents I know have suffered through the loss of their child from suicide. There are really no words for the shock and grief that is felt on so many levels.
Unfortunately, teen suicide is not as uncommon as you might think. Each year, there are thousands of teens that commit suicide. Suicides are the 3rd leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds. In 2000, the CDC reported 1 out of 12 teens attempts suicide and up to 1 in 5 teens state that they have contemplated suicide at some point during their adolescent years. The statistics also show that the incidence of teen suicide has been increasing over the last years, which seems to correlate with the mounting pressures, both real and perceived, that our youth feel. As an adult I think "what could be that terrible to drive a teen to end their life when so much lies ahead of them?. But a teen's brain is not fully developed, and as any parent with a teen knows, teenagers are often impulsive with little thought of the true consequences of their actions.
Teen suicides are usually related to depression, anxiety, confusion and the feeling that life is not worth living. An event such as a break up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, substance abuse, or failure at school may lead to suicide.
There are also gender differences among teens who commit suicide. Teen girls are more likely to attempt suicide than teen boys. With that being said, teen boys are more likely to complete a suicide. Girls are more likely to use an overdose of drugs to attempt suicide while boys are more likely to shoot themselves. While a girl may use an overdose or cutting as call for help, there is often little opportunity for intervention with a male who sustains a self inflicted gun shot or may even hang themselves. Male suicide attempts are typically more violent
There has been a lot of media attention in recent years looking at legal cases involving teens and sexting as well as cases of bullying or harassment of the teen who's picture is spread beyond the intended recipient.
Maybe they would have remembered on their own, but I was convinced that it was the news that kept my parents checking on me. At any rate, the point of this is that I had a curfew and that they checked on me, enforced the curfew and there were consequences for not following the rules. So, the mother today was telling me that her son had a curfew (good for her and an appropriate time too) but that he had broken the curfew twice and he was now upset that she had followed through by having him come home earlier and had taken the car away for a week. Her son was angry that she "didn't trust him" anymore, and she explained that she had trusted him, by giving him a car to drive and a time to come home, but that he had broken the trust by not following the curfew. She then explained that he had to re-earn her trust, and he is just baffled by that. She is doing a great job of setting limits and boundaries, but we talked about how hard it is to follow through and not just give in. On the other hand, I also see a lot of parents of teens that do not have curfews for their kids, driving contracts for new drivers, and those who turn their heads when their teens are not making good choices. It is a hard job, but teens need limits, boundaries and consequences, just like when they were toddlers. If you have a teen keep up the good work and remember, it is 11:00 0'clock, do you know where your child is? Do you have a curfew for your teen? Share your comments & feedback. That's your daily dose, we'll chat again tomorrow. Send your question or comment to Dr. Sue!
During my tween/teen checkups, I try to spend some time talking about how much time an adolescent spends on their phone, how much time on their computer and how much time they are watching TV. Kind of a compilation of how they handle on line/on screen per day.
While everyone is different I do like to see if parents have discussed rules with their teens surrounding the use of ALL electronics. I find that most adolescents and their parents do have rules about the use of their phones and computers and most parents try to limit their child's constant need to be on screen.
I was recently talking with a teen boy, who is one of 5 children. He has great parents and they are very attentive to all of the distractions related to cell phones and computer use and try to keep all of the screen use in moderation.
During his routine exam, I asked him about his cell phone usage, and if he had rules for using the phone, he answered that he didn't have a phone.....anymore. Upon further polite probing he told me that he had had his phone taken away due to the fact that he had been texting too much.
Now, in my practice, many of my patients seem to be texting all of the time. Many parents had already told me that their child had unlimited texts and several had told me that their children had bills with as many as 9,000 texts/month. But, when I asked him how many texts he had recorded in a month he sheepishly told me 16,000!!! WHAT??
So, I came home to my computer to try and figure out how many texts that was per week, day, hour? (he had told me that his dad had a spread sheet that he could get me if I wanted). I went straight to my own calculator. If he had 16,000 texts/month, that is 571 texts per day (assuming 28 day month). If you figure that a teen is in school for 8 hours/day (where I guess they are not supposed to be texting) and they SHOULD sleep at least 8 hours, th
I'm doing a lot of check ups this summer and a lot of questions surrounding behavior. I have had many a parent lately who keeps asking me, what is wrong with my 2-3 year old, they used to be so sweet but they are driving me crazy! It is a statement that has been uttered by most parents at different times while dealing with toddlers and young children. As I have said before, this is typically NOT an easy stage, but it is so important in terms of child development, behavior modification and early discipline. It requires a great deal of PATIENCE as well.
For most of the parents it is just a matter of being reassured that:
A. Their child is not possessed
B. They are not the only one going through this
C. This too shall pass
One of my fondest memories while dealing with my own children during these years was of a very cute book that I would read to them after a long day! They loved the book, as did I, as it is written for both a parent and child to enjoy.
The book is entitled Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy. I found my hardback copy (I haven't saved much from my boys early childhood, but did keep a good book collection for future use) and opened it to find that it had an inscription. It had been given to my oldest son for his 3rd birthday. The inscription read, have mommy read this to you and I bet she will enjoy it as much I hope you will. The mother who had brought it for a birthday gift had 3 children and her youngest was the same as age my oldest. She was a wonderful mother and she used to give me such sage advice. This book kept me sane many a day and then I went on and bought several other books about The Large Family. They are all very special books. I recommend you get on Amazon and buy one and see for yourself.
And guess what? I am now taking care of this same mother's 3 most adorable grandchi