Is your teen at risk for suicide? If not, my question is “how do you know?” The sudden awareness of mental health issues has been brought to light by the recent deaths of two high profile individuals. And as sad as this may be I can’t help but think of the children they left behind, the stigma placed upon them and how the death of their parents will impact their own mental health.
Journal writing can help. Providing an effective and creative outlet for your child to vent their emotions can be invaluable. It’s a safe place for them to communicate what’s going on in their lives. Issues they may be afraid to discuss with parents or friends.
Think back to when you were a teenager. How much of your daily life did you share? The struggle of being the new kid, not making the team or meeting academic goals. How did you handle the pressure of college admissions, dating, and physical appearance? The word “self” has taken on an entirely new meaning for them. Selfies, self-image, self-esteem, self-care, and the list can go on. Not much has changed and yet everything has changed. The issue of gun violence is not something we had to face. Being streamed live for all to see was not something we had to face and yet it’s a part of their daily lives.
USA Today reports that the teen suicide rate more than doubled from 2008 to 2015. Information that does not include the fear of having family members deported, the rise of racism over the past few years and sexual identity.
Here’s how to introduce your child to journal writing. First, show them the different apps available for their device. Some are free and others for a small fee. The appeal factor is not only the convenience of having it on their ever-present phones but offers a level of privacy for them as well. Second, make it visually appealing. This is where you bring out the mom factor and make it cute. A nice portable notebook with matching ink pen can provide serious mileage. Floral, super hero or a combination of both. Make it fit their personal style. And why not throw in a gift card to a local coffee shop? It communicates how important the right environment is to writing. Something they may not have considered.
Summer is a great time for them to begin journal writing. The non-academic freedom, long nights and time by the pool provide ample time for transformation. An opportunity to prepare for what may lay ahead with the fall school term. An opportunity to build confidence and strength in their own abilities and self-worth as human beings.