By Mary McPhail Gray
NVW Board Chair
“Please don’t tell my parents!” exclaimed a teenager who had just revealed he was thinking of suicide.
The NVW clinician who listened is in fact mandated to report to the parents when such desperate thoughts are revealed. Yet this clinician—experienced with youth who have shared their fears knew that too often parents may make the wrong response. It is terrible news to hear—and it needs a response that is not immediately easy.
Typical responses by parents include to become angry with the youth—berating or yelling at her so that she cowers and closes down. Another response is to declare suicide a sin—which will be punished by God and the church. A third response is to downplay or belittle their youth by saying, “Oh that’s not a big deal—you can handle this.” In each case, the youth feels shut down, not taken seriously.
“Youth know what they are feeling,” commented the clinician. “Parents must just listen—as hard as that is—just be quiet and really listen to their child.” [Read more…] about Anxiety of our Youth