Unsolicited Thought: Teenage Suicide
There were issues in the past few weeks that have passed that I dared not touch as they were sensitive issues to ordinarily discuss. But finally I am giving in to that great internal urge to write a few on some of them.
Much have been said about the teenage female college student who committed suicide when allegedly she was being asked to take a leave of absence, for failing to pay a debt of about 10,000 before she could take her finals exam this semester. Many of the statements that has come out of our “judgement-whores” are finger pointing, who is to blame why the students had to end her life. That is just unfortunate. While many are quick to blame the student herself, the school, the education system and even the president, one thing they dared NOT do was to UNDERSTAND the victim herself.
I for one do not know her well, thus my silence in the past. But based on the limited knowledge of her, this is the only thing I can share. She was 16 years of age, an adolescent. Adolescent age itself is a very complex stage of one’s life. It may be described as a transition from childhood to adulthood. It is the age when physiologically, sex hormones start to be released in surges, making the adolescent act erratically. Emotions are at their peak, parent-conflict(s) ensue(s), school problem identity crisis/gender disorientation may take place, role confusion starts. Parental-child conflicts occur as the child learns to be more independent while the parents wary of not letting their child to be; peer and external influence are very significant. Hormonal surges, unresolved internal conflicts and just trigger from a minor problem may add up and lead the teenager to commit suicide especially when red flag signs have not been detected and the child left alone unguided.
Why was it so easy for these “judgmental whores” to identify who was at fault in that particular suicide? What conflict was that child having internally? None of those “judgmental whores” even knew or cared to explore, and yet were quick to pinpoint who was at fault. Was it right and proper to identify the victim as the sole “at fault” and judge her according to our viewpoints, the school, the education system, the president? It may be true that there are some factors from these but more has to be understood first.
We all do not stand on the same ground. While some of us may have resolved our conflicts with the guidance from our good choice of peers, our understanding parents or accommodating and comfortable homes, not everyone of us share that same environment. What is true in us is not necessarily the same environment every teenager in this country is faced with. It is easy for one to say “during my time, when faced with hard times, we had other options, but never entertained the idea of suicide.” But were we having the same hormonal disturbance as the child has?
We do not share the SAME level of threshold. Given the same level of challenges we face, some may take it lightly, some may take it very hard and some may end up their life. This idiosyncracy therefore make us behave differently against the same challenge or problem. Several three year old kids were placed in a room with marshmallow on a plate. They were instructed not to eat it. But did they all comply? No. Some were not able to resist the temptation and took one for themselves, while were able to follow the instructions to the letter. Emotional quotient, that what was tested in this simple experiment, is not the same for all individuals.
If a family however do not allot sufficient time to their teenage children, listen to them, ask how they are doing at school, as they have other pressing duties and obligations to do, this leads the adolescent to listen more to their peers and external environment. Such is the problem being faced by adolescents whose parents are abroad working, and is left to the care of lone parent or grandparents, who also have other matters at hand. We’ve heard of teenage delinquents, early pregnancies, intake of drugs and other risk behaviors as an offshoot of this scenario.
What should have been more important was that, red flag signs should have been detected by parents, friends or teachers. These signs should have been resolved earlier on. The teenager should have been guided well such that not a minor problem would have triggered this unfortunate incident.