In recent years, the United States has witnessed a spurt in the number of teens with suicidal thoughts. Among many reasons that have a role to play in this, lack of attention from parents seems to trigger the extreme step by their children. Now, a new study has found a significant association between parents’ behaviors and suicidal thoughts among their adolescent wards. According to researchers, children aged 12 to 17 are more likely to show self-harm behavior and attempt suicide when their parents do not express interest in their emotional well-being. The findings come at a time when the number of suicide attempts by teenagers in the US has reached alarming heights.
Researchers say that they have been approached numerous times by parents who want to bring about a difference. It is important for the parents to understand that their kids need strong support from them. But the sad part is that a majority of children do not have that comfort, and that is where the problem begins.
Young adolescents are more vulnerable
According to the research, children between 12 and 13 years are the most affected by the behavior of their parents. The findings noted that kids from this age group, whose parents rarely appreciated them, were five times more likely to develop thoughts of suicide and seven times more likely to plan or attempt suicide.
It was also observed that kids in the same age group whose parents showed no participation in their life, like helping with their school work or listening to their worries, carried an unusually high risk of suicide. A pep talk from their parents, filled with encouraging and “well done” statements, are what adolescents look for. The study found that older teens in the age group of 16-17 were three times more likely to attempt suicide for the same reasons.
Teenage is that time in one’s life that can be tumultuous, with many changes taking place, physically as well as emotionally. Lack of support and inadequate engagement by parents could also be a driving force behind the decision by teens to try drugs or indulge in risky behaviors. Vidourek observed that for their well-being, children need to be connected on a positive level with their parents at all times. Through this study, the attempt was made to understand if the teenagers made plans or even tried to commit suicide. It did not target to probe into the completion of suicide by teenagers.
In the US, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens and young adults aged between 15 and 24. Experts are of the opinion that among many factors responsible for contributing to a raised risk of suicide among adolescents, the prominent ones include mental health problems like depression and anxiety, negative effects of social media, and harassment. Prior researches show that nearly 90% of teens who commit suicide have anxiety, depression, substance abuse, or a behavior problem.
In case you notice a change in the behavior of your kids or know someone who is struggling to understand the behavioral changes of their children, contact professional mental health help.