Yesterday was “World Suicide Prevention Day”, and I think of the increasing incidents of suicide amongst children and adolescents in Singapore (Read also: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/teen-suicides-highest-in-15-years-but-overall-rate-falls).
Children and adolescents are not “mini adults”. Their cognitive, emotional, moral and social development are ongoing and maturing over time, depending on their individual developmental processes and experiences. In addition, their environment also plays a role in the developmental process.
What has been the predominant focus in our interactions with the young at a micro-level and macro-level? My suspicion is that in some cases performance, abilities and achievements have been the core themes, and expressed in “all-or-nothing” or catastrophic terms, with good intentions and hoping that will motivate them.
The emotional needs of the young are what we need to pay attention to, and arguably, one of the most basic aspects that we need to attend to and nurture. Ask about their feelings, help them identify and understand their emotions and needs, teach them how to express and regulate their feelings appropriately, and how to meet their emotional needs. This will help them in their developmental processes and help them manage and navigate challenges and demands.
We can start the change. We don’t have to have it all together. We can learn.
We show what we care about through the repetitive messages we convey. Let it be evident that we care more about the “being” of the person than the “doing”. When the “being” is taken care of, the “doing” will follow.
Learning with all in this ongoing journey, called life.
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Disclaimer: This blog and its posts are not treatment recommendations nor claim to represent clinical point of view. The contents of this blog do not replace formal consultation with a mental health or medical professional.