From The Positive Perspective.......
Our youth, especially our teenagers, are bombarded with so many mixed messages in society today. They are battling hormones and learning to drive and figuring out what they want to do with the rest of their life. They are dealing with peer pressure, cyber bullying, fitting in with the right crowd...the list goes on and on.
What I am seeing is that some teenagers feel they have no one to turn to or they have been taught that they have to handle everything on their own; they reach out through Facebook instead of face to face contact with a trusted loved one. They feel they have to tackle the world alone and when they run out of options there is nothing left to do except the one option that puts fear in all of us. You may be able to change that by reaching out to the youth around you NOW.
If you are an adult and you feel comfortable doing so, please be sure you let any youth in your life know that you are there for them. Physically tell them in person or in a phone call. Take the time to really sit down with your kids and be sure they know that THERE ARE ALWAYS OPTIONS IN LIFE. As a fellow mental health professional named Viktor E. Frankl put it, "you can't always control what happens to you but you can always control how you respond to what happens to you." Kids need to learn this. They need to learn that they have a choice.
Let them know that you will not judge them for a mistake but praise them for coming to ask for help. Seeking guidance is a sign of courage, not a sign of weakness. Some problems are beyond what a teenager can handle. Their brains are not fully developed yet. That's why they have parents, whether one or two or many generations of family, or other adults in their life to guide them into making good choices.
Teenagers need to know that if they are faced with an issue involving a friend that is beyond what they can handle to go tell an adult who can help. They don't need to shoulder all that pressure alone. They need to tell that trusted adult what the exact situation is, no matter what it is, so the adult can step in and be sure everyone is safe.
Help our youth separate who they are as a person from the behavioral choices they make. They are not a bad person if they make a mistake. Help them to learn from the mistake so it doesn't happen again. Encourage them to be honest about the situation. Honesty should be rewarded with love, understanding and support. Many youth numb their situation with drugs and risky behavior because they don't have anyone to turn to who will listen. No one has let them know recently that they care. We, adults need to slow down sometimes and skip the golf tournament or the business meeting to attend to our most beloved youth. Don't we want them to grow up to do the same for someone else? Think about it.
So, I challenge you to find a teenager or youth who is in your life....take the time to talk to them and let them know you care. Tell them they can talk to you in times of trouble or triumph.
Knowing that you can make a difference in someone's life can help you to look at this issue from the Positive Perspective....