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Unsolicited Thoughts: Teenage Suicide

Unsolicited Thought: Teenage Suicide

18MAR

(photo courtesy of www.youngberry.com)

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.

TEENAGE SUICIDE

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.

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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Adolescents

 

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BCWMH: A Family Picture

(photo courtesy of www.abs-cbn.com)

(photo courtesy of http://www.abs-cbn.com)

I am an avid watcher of the teleserye “Be Careful With My Heart.” Not only does it have entertainment value, it also highlight several positive virtues we rarely see or that are fading amongst Filipino families.

It’s supposed to be the story of a poor lass from the province, Maya dela Rosa, who initially planned to go abroad to help the family financially after her elder sister met an accident and their house is being foreclosed due to huge debt. Unfortunately she fell prey to an illegal recruiter and thus was unable to leave the country. She found herself job-hopping until by accident she came across Mr Richard Lim, a widower with three children, and the proprietor of Lim Aviation. She worked as a nanny in exchange for a scholarship so she could pursue her dream of being a flight attendant.

The title by itself gives the viewer the idea that this show is about a blossoming intimacy between Mr Lim and Maya, a widower and an innocent lass who never had a relationship beforehand. I thought this was adapted from the show The Nanny where the plot was quite similar. There are several subplots, yet the subplots have their own unique story to tell, moral values to share, life experiences to teach, all of which are equally entertaining and socially relevant.

One particular subplot that got me to blog about the show was the responsibility of Mr Lim aka “Ser Chief” as a father to his three children, performing such herculean task alone as his wife died prematurely, and his kids already growing up, (now on their adolescent age, except the youngest). The tv show clearly emphasizes the importance of open communication between the father and his kids. Despite being a single parent with a large company to manage, he never forgets his duty as their father and takes time to listen and address the concerns of each of his children. Sometimes, even to the extent of canceling his appointments in order to attend to his kid’s needs at those precious times.

When Luke Andrew, his eldest, formally tied a relationship with his chum Joey after being crowned Prom King and Queen, Luke disclosed everything to his father about it. He understood his son, as he too had his first girlfriend at the same age. Luke every now and then occasionally ask tips from his father or his younger sibling Nikki Grace how to appease Joey. After informing his father, Luke was planning to formally inform also Joey’s strict mother, Grace, about their relationship, but was daunted. He was then planning a way of notifying in the soonest time, while he is gathering his courage to do so. Joey however shared his relationship status with a cousin, who later posted about it in his Facebook account. Joey’s mother, Grace, discovered about the relationship and got mad. Joey then told Luke about their problem. Luke was already decided to go to Grace on the following day to formally introduce himself as Joey’s boyfriend, to talk to her and explain that he did not intentionally want to hide about his and Joey’s relationship. However, Joey and Grace were already on the way to the Lim’s residence to talk. Ser Chief, who was supposed to be on a date with Maya, had to cancel in order to support his son. Ser Chief, Luke, Grace and Joey finally settled things, the young lovers promising to still be on focus with their studies and not do anything stupid that will destroy the trust of their parents.

This was such a beautiful episode for me and I commend the script writers for incorporating this segment. It emphasizes the big role of parents still during the adolescent age of their kids, guide them especially on tasks that may seem too much of a burden, in order to avoid mishaps in their kid’s lives. While the teenager at this stage struggle to be more independent, the parents role should not be reduced. Though not controlling, parents should be willing to listen, and give sound advices as teenagers have yet to learn so much of life. The beauty of this episode also shows that being a single parent is not an excuse for not properly guiding your own kids if you indeed value your family and want your kids to grow as responsible ones. I earlier on tweeted that it was unfortunate that many working parents and studying teenagers were not able to watch it as the show is pitted on a midday time slot. It would have been a good teaching experience, an eye opener for both parents and teenagers in order to avoid conflicts between them.

In the Philippines in this times, because parents had to make ends meet to be able to provide for the needs of the family, many of the families have either one or both absentee parent/s as he/they has/have to work abroad. The children are not left under the care of the parents’ siblings, or the children’s grandparents, who as well have other kids and family members to attend to. The adolescents’ concerns are not attended to fully, there are no parents to listen to their children’s problems. The parents use singleness as an excuse why they can’t focus on their children’s other needs and concerns, as long as their kids have food to eat, clothes to wear, gadgets to display. This is unfortunate as unguided adolescents may end up listening more to their peers than their parents. That adolescent is lucky if his peers’s influence is towards his own good. But if the peer is also on the exploration side, seeking dangerous thrills and doing risky behaviors, then that poses a very humongous problem.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid article

 

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Adolescents, Personal, TV Show

 

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Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies

Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies.

 

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Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies

(These are curated tweets by WHO during the World Health Assembly 65 at Geneva Switzerland, dated May 25, 2012)

  • In 2008, mothers aged 15-19 years gave birth to 16m babies, representing 11% of all births worldwide.
  • About 95% of births in 2008 by mothers aged 15-19 years occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Progresss has been made: worldwide, the adolescent birth rate has declined from 60 per 1000 in 1990 to 48 per 1000 in 2007.
  • Discrepancy between regions in adolescent birth rates is wide, eg 5 per 1000 women in eastern Asia to 121 per 1000 in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • What contributes to adolescent pregnancy? Most people initiate sexual activity between 15 and 19 years of age.
  • In poorer countries, sexual activity for girls is often initiated in marriage, or due to coercion, frequently with older men.
  • Rates of use of contraception by adolescents are often low, hence adolescent girls may become pregnant.
  • Early marriage also contributes to adolescent pregnancy. Worldwide, 60m+ women aged 20-24 years were married before age 18.
  • Gender norms can also contribute to adolescent pregnancy; eg social norms that condone violence against women, girls put them at risk
  • Not knowing much about sex, family planning contributes to early pregnancy. Effective sexuality education is lacking in many countries.
  • Education in general is important: the more years of schooling, the fewer early pregnancies.
  • All couples should have access to safe, effective, affordable, acceptable methods of family planning.
  • Women have the right to access appropriate health-care services that enable them to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Many countries have laws that prohibit adolescents from accessing sexual and reproductive health services without parental, spousal consent.
  • What are the consequences of early pregnancy? A first pregnancy at an early age is risky. It can lead to disease and death.
  • Early, unwanted pregnancies can lead to induced abortion which can lead to severe health risks, death when carried out in unsafe conditions.
  • Up to 65% of women with obstetric fistula develped this during adolescence, with dire consequences for their lives.
  • Adolescent pregnancy is dangerous for the child. The younger the mother, the higher the risk of stillbirth and death of the infant.
  • Social consequences of adolescent pregnancy can be severe: school drop out, lack of subsequent income, violence against unmarried girls…
  • How can too-early pregnancies be prevented in developing countries? WHO has issued 6 recommendations.
  • 1) Reducing marriage prior to age 18; 2) Reducing pregnancy before the age of 20 years.
  • 3) Increase the use of contraception by adolescents at risk of unwanted pregnancy
  • 4) Reducing coerced sex among adolescents
  • 5) Reducing unsafe abortion among adolescents to prevent too-early pregnancies.
  • 6) Increasing the use of skilled antenatal, childbirth, postnatal care among adolescents to prevent too-early pregnancies.

For complete copy on the report of the WHO Secretariat on Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies, please feel free to read this article http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA65/A65_13-en.pdf

 

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