Tuesday April 16 2024

Teenagers & self-destruction: Six causes of child suicide

8 October 2022 11:24 (UTC+04:00)
Teenagers & self-destruction: Six causes of child suicide

Moscow City University has developed advice for parents of teenagers with suicidal tendencies. How adults can help children not to commit self-destructive, auto-aggressive acts, not to die by their own hands, and why terrible tragedies are increasingly happening, explained associate professor at Moscow City University, Ph.D. in Psychology Larisa Ovcharenko.

Suicide is second on the top causes of death among teenagers in Europe. Some experts believe that the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic is guilty, but teenage suicide was a problem before 2019 as well. Larisa Ovcharenko, assistant professor at Moscow City University, Ph.D. in Psychology said that lockdowns have affected suicide statistics, but the main causes of teenage self-destruction are another. Read on to know how to help children avoid suicidal thoughts and actions during their mental and physical development.

Why does a teenager decide to destroy himself?

Lack of an inner core. A teenager makes the decision to self-destruct because he has no inner support, this is due to age specifics - boys and girls do not feel the value of their own lives, and they don't understand how they can deal with stress, sadness, and longing. Problems can be completely different - unhappy love, betrayal of friends, a difficult situation in the family, or bullying. At 13-15 years the object of love is deified, and if something goes wrong, it seems a disaster. There is still no life experience and understanding that feelings are important, but people can survive them. Feelings here and now are more important and the adolescent cannot handle the power of the emotional and sensory experience that is thrust upon him or her. At this point, the only solution seems to end life as the end of worrying and unpleasant emotions.

No significant adult to rely on. It would seem then that someone from outside should help, but who? In adolescence, the parent is usually not the authority, the child wants to show that he is independent and self-sufficient. Older mates do not understand life too. The teenager is generally shy to go to someone with his problem. A situation arises when the schoolboy can neither help himself, nor ask for help, and is left alone.

Family problems. In some families, the relationship crisis is at the same time as the child is going through puberty. The adult must cope with maintaining the family, spouse, household, and work. Mom and dad simply do not have time for the problems of the child, who begins to look for support in the outside world, including social networks, where he easily falls under the influence of liars, and "mentors". And children of this age are led and trust those who understand and accept them as they are.

Impairment. Parents cannot or rather do not know how to support their teenagers, above all they are not ready to talk about crushes, relationships, betrayal, and depression. The easiest thing, in this case, is not to notice the problem, because if it is not visible, it does not exist.

Adults understand that the first crush rarely ends a long relationship, those old friends are replaced by new ones, but they don't know how to convey this to children in a gentle way. Teenagers who decide to open up to their parents about their pain hear in response "study better, stop screwing around". These phrases devalue their suffering, they hide their feelings and try to solve the problem on their own. At such a moment the decision to commit suicide comes to mind.

I don't trust myself and I'm afraid to trust others. There are many competent psychologists in the world who have the knowledge and skills to work with children. There are even school psychologists but such specialists are not a panacea as the root of the problem lies in the family and access to it is closed; up to 14 years old psychologists can communicate with children only with the consent of adults. Even if a parent brings his son or daughter to the psychologist's office, he or she often comes with the position "cure my child, and I do not want to do anything". Although he or she needs psychological aid or knowledge of the basics of the psychology of teenagers, tools to communicate with them, and how to establish contact. It is necessary to teach parents this.

Punishment instead of education. The system of education is built on the feeling of guilt, the child has a strong connection that the offense is always followed by punishment. A clear connection is fixed in the brain: I am guilty, I must be punished. And children start destroying themselves, making cuts on their bodies, thinking about suicide and romanticizing it: "I will freeze my finger off to spite my mother, she will finally love me when I die, or when I am gone, she will understand everything".

If parents pay attention to the child when he was only spoiling, naturally, negatively, then self-torture will be an attempt to feel loved. Such behavior can be followed by suicide. Parents, teachers, coaches, and psychologists should pay attention to cuts, and bruises on a teenager's body, especially if they are systematic.

To remove the child's guilt for the mistakes that everyone makes at any age, the most important thing that all adults need to learn is not to punish, it is necessary to explain, even if a hundred times, but to explain how to act differently in this situation. Only in this way the teenager does not feel guilty. He will begin to gain experience and make independent decisions in a balanced and thoughtful way.


Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

Latest See more