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THE TEEN YEARS

How To Outwit Your Teenager

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Can A Hug Prevent Teen Suicide?

July 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

teen suicide

Every time I read that a teenager has taken their own life I become a little more neurotic. The news.com.au report today that four teens from one Victorian high school had committed suicide this year was like a massive red flag to me.

There was no specific reason given but then who can really know what’s going on inside the mind of your average teenager? There was a suggestion that cyberbullying may have contributed to this.

The advice offered from the Victorian Minister for Education was for parents to hug their children more. Which suggests that there is a view that today’s teenagers do not receive adequate emotional support from their parents.

I hug and kiss my 15-year-old and his pre-teen brother on a daily basis, and multiple times during the day if I can. While the little one will still fall into my hugs, the teenager has been resisting for a few years now. He stiffens when I cuddle him and pushes me away. It’s only when I tell him that I won’t let go until he relaxes that he puts his guard down and allows me to give him the kind of hugs he enjoyed as a small child.

I won’t let him pull away from me emotionally. It’s important that our teenagers remain connected to us in a physical sense too. It’s too easy for them to disconnect from their family. And then once they have successfully isolated themselves, they have a tendency to feel cut-off. That’s just asking for trouble.

To remain connected to your teen, I recommend the following that has worked for me so far:

1. Hug your teenager each morning as they head off to school so they leave feeling loved.
2. Kiss your child at bedtime, regardless of how old they are.
3. Encourage fathers to show affection to their teens, particularly their sons. I have insisted that our 15-year-old continue to kiss his dad, rather than shake hands as was customary with previous generations of estranged fathers and sons.
4. If your teenager is looking stressed or distressed, a lingering hug can be just the key to getting them to talk about it.
5. If you hug them, they’ll hug their children in generations to come. If you weren’t hugged enough as a child you’ll need to teach yourself the habit. Breaking the habit of building emotional walls between parents and teenagers will be worth it for family unity in the long run.

Photo: http://parentsuniversalresourceexperts.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/teensuicide.jpg

Tags: Bullying · Depression · Education · Health · Parental Bonding · Self-esteem

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