After working with many young ladies who have been cutting, suicidal, depressed and the parents of those who have completed suicide I have my own beliefs as to why suicide in on the increase with girls:
- Parents not spending enough time with their kids
- Girls under sexual pressure
- Girls under dating pressure
- Kids aren’t given enough time to just be innocent
- Too much pressure for kids to perform in sports, arts, academics, etc.
- Facebook comparisons
- Pressure to compare
- Lack of parental support
- Drugs, drinking
- Lack of community
- Loss of identity
- Lack of Christian standards being taught in home
- Pressure to be thinner, prettier, smarter, sexier
- Difficulty in girls accepting themselves as they are
- Dating too young
- Date rape
- Domestic violence
The list is endless. We live in a fragmented society. It is no longer a safe place. Home used to be the safe place. What can you do to help your daughter to feel more loved, valued, protected and safe? Here are some suggestions.
1) Talk, talk, talk. Each day ask your daughter how her day was. No matter what she says don’t be upset. Don’t be distracted by the phone, TV or texting. Before she talks silence your phone and NEVER interrupt her by picking it back up. Pay attention! She needs to know that you love her and care. Let her know she is valuable.
2) Pray, pray, pray. Pray daily with your daughter. Encourage her to pray with you before school each day. Let her know that you will be covering her in prayer as she is at school or work.
3) Put on the Armor of God with with your kids daily. They are in a huge spiritual battle and will need the armor to fight daily. http://mountainstreamshealingcenter.com/category/armor-of-god/
4) Date your daughter once a week. She needs to know she is loved and valuable – not for what she does but for who she is.
5) Ask your daughter if she feels suicidal. Let her know you are in this together.
6) Let your daughter know that she can tell you anything without fear of repercussion.
7) Regularly ask hard questions: Has your boyfriend been pressuring you for sex? Are you having sex? Have you felt like hurting yourself? Do you ever feel like killing yourself? What is the most difficult thing you are facing right now? What are 3 things you wish you could change in your life?
8) Trust your gut. If something seems off with your daughter it probably is. I have spoken to parents of kids who committed suicide and said they saw tell-tale signs of suicide but kept ignoring them.
9) If your daughter ever says she wants to kill herself, see it as a strong possibility. Lovingly speak to her and get her the help she needs. Whether it’s valid or not why take a chance?
10) Daily give your daughter lots of long hugs. Hold her hand – no matter what her age. Tell her she is beautiful and you love her. Let her know how very valuable she is to you – regardless of how she acts – she is still your little girl and needs to be affirmed.
These are only a few basic suggestions. Suicide is demonic. It creeps into a child’s mind very slowly. It begins as a thought. It comes during duress, depression, hopelessness and despair. Few are the girls who have never thought of suicide. When the first thought comes into your daughters mind it has now planted a seed that is very difficult to remove – but with much prayer, fasting and loving support your daughter can be set free to live a long and fulfilling life.
(I will be addressing suicide and young men in another post)