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why?

why?

What possesses an eight grade child to kill herself? Where would she get the gun? How would she know how to shoot the gun? What is her mindset that she took the time to give away her personal belongings to her friends before she put the gun to her head? And mostly, why didn't her parents know that she wanted to end her life?

Eighth grade is young. You are 13, maybe 14. That's still a child to me. And children need to be talked to constantly and watched and listened to.

My daughter is 12. She will be thirteen in February. I can't imagine not knowing what's going on in her head. Long ago, I established a relationship with her that was open and trusting. I ask her questions, not just "how was school, honey?" but "what was your day like? anything interesting happen?" I give her the openings and let her in. I don't stop her from talking, even when she's telling me about who said what to whom and where they said it and who got mad. I don't stop the repeated stories, the mundane stories or the bitching about smelly gym lockers, because if I stop listening to the little things, she won't tell me the big things.

It breaks my heart to see that a child of that age was so despondent that she took her own life. How could there not have been signs? Or did someone see the signs but choose to ignore them?

I see so many parents who have all but tuned their child out. I know, just from listening, which girls are going in which direction. I know that the girl around the corner will end up doing drugs and alcohol at an early age, just like her brother. Her mother does not see what I see because her mother doesn't take the time to look. I know that one of Natalie's friends will end up being the slut in high school, most likely pregnant before 16. It's obvious to everyone but her family, because her family doesn't look.

I know my daughter inside and out. I can tell by just the way she blinks her eyes what she's thinking. I can tell by looking when she's had a hard day, when she's had a good day, when she wants to talk but is waiting for me to initiate the conversation.

She's entering a brave new world in seventh grade. The dangers of peer pressure are heavier. The kids are more street-wise, a little sharper around the edges.

I know my parenting can sometimes be a source of contention for her. I don't drop her off with at the mall with her friends; I feel she's too young for that. I don't let her cross the 4-lane main street here because I don't trust the drivers on the road. There are certain friends whose house she cannot sleep over because I know the supervision is lax.

She may get mad at me sometimes, she may pout and whine when she is sitting home while her friends are roaming the streets aimlessly, but I don't care. I don't want to end up being that mother who cries herself to sleep at night saying "why do I let her do that?" I don't want her to be a statistic.

How does an eigth grader get to the point that she no longer wants to live? Why didn't anyone see she was headed there? There had to be some sign, some clue.

I obsess over news such as this. I put myself in the mother's place and I feel the heartache of not just losing a child, but knowing that I was in some way to blame. I will never let that happen.

Just talk to your kids. Listen when they talk, no matter what kind of gibberish they're talking. If you listen to the boring things, they will trust you with the other things. They just want someone to hear them.

This is what happens when no one listens, when there is no exchange of words, no one to hear what lies underneath the smiles.

Comments

good girl. keep that close contact and understanding above all else. i was in eighth grade the first time i tried to kill myself, and in ninth when i ran away the first time. but, then, you weren't my mom. ;)

I'm glad for you and Natalie that you see the immense importance of parental involvement and supervision.

About 5 years ago, a co-worker's 12 year-old son hung himself. On top of the mother's grief was her self-described guilt of being too uninvolved in what was going on with him and being more involved with the younger kids, separating from her husband, partying, etc. Unfortunately, she won't have the chance to do it over with him.

Likewise, when my younger sis was in her sophmore year of high school, a kid in one of her classes pulled a gun out of his bookbag midway through class and shot himself in the head, splattering those nearby with blood and brains (my sis included). From what I understood, no one at home paid much attention to him, and he was very troubled.

I think that when you're young and troubled, you don't have a clear understanding that it may not always be a rough road, and that you can have an impact on your world most of the time. I don't think they see the bigger picture. And sometimes, there are situations where death seems preferable to continuing on. Sad, but so true.

It just doesn't make sense. But sometimes it makes all the sense in the world. Neglict is as bad as abuse.

Your daughter is lucky.

The girl had actually told several people in her family that she was "going away" and that they'd "probably never see her again."

I watched one of her aunts talking about that on the news last night and my jaw dropped. HELLO!!!?!! That wasn't some sort of clue that something was going on?

The girl's friends at school had said that she was always a happy and sort of quiet girl, but that in the past few days she had started acting weird. Her aunt confirmed this.

I can understand that her middle school friends wouldn't be quick to notice and be concerned over the change in behavior, but why was her family so fucking ignorant?

In Singapore it happens a lot. Sometimes they're primary school kids (up to age 12). Usually the reason for their suicide is they feel like academic failures. Can you imagine, feeling like a failure while you're still in primary school? Academic success is so important here. Kind of scary.

In my opinion, those early teen years are some of the toughest anyone has to go through. At least they were for me. I know what I went through in those years, and I plan to keep an careful eye on my kid(s) when they get to be that age. Part of my problem was that my parents heard, but didn't listen. It's not enough to ask your kids questions and get answers. You have to actually listen to what they're saying, and you have to be paying attention when they say something or do something weird. Sometimes you even have to read between the lines and interprate what they don't say.

When my son was in the seventh grade we were told that he had been found writing suicide notes in class. He had always had difficulty finishing his assignments and never quite seemed to fit in with the other boys in class, but that was still a shock.

We immediately sought some counselling which led to some testing. We found that he had some identifiable learning disabilities. It was described to us as a fast computer hooked up to a slow modem. He has always been bright, but something about hand writing things has always been difficult for him. Futher, he was diagnosed as ADHD. Not excessively hyper, but easily distracted.

We enrolled him in a school which specializes in kids with learning difficulties and got some drugs prescribed which helped him in dealing with his ADHD. After one year (which he hated) he had learned a lot about some coping mechanisms for working around the things which he found particularly difficult and how to work on things that he found frustrating without giving into his frustration.

When he returned to the public school system for high school he did much better. The greater diversity of the student body allowed him to find more friends (drama club and chess club in this case) which helped him to feel more plugged in. He is doing much better but is still learning how to become more independent and self-reliant.

Communication is vital in these early adolescent years, but it is very difficult sometimes to really find out what, if anything, is bothering youngsters at that age. Good luck. Love and involvement can make all the difference.

"Long ago, I established a relationship with her that was open and trusting."

Well, yeah, see. You probably don't tell her she's ugly, or stupid, or to blame for all your shortcomings, or will lose all her friends, or cut her clothes into little pieces and leave them on her bed, or start your morning with blow and end it with 3 glasses of wine and a naked obese man named Aarvid whose doberman you leave in her bedroom. This happens more often than you'd think. Aarvids must be stopped. ;D
Seriously, tho. Organizations like ToughLove must have had a hand in raising the occurence since I was a kid, too. Take everything away from a child, and what do they have left? Something they can take away from you.

blown away again.

i tried killing myself when i was fourteen, though i don't blame my parents, i blame the stupid industry that took and took and took. criticized, tore me apart and ripped me into pieces. the stress, the pressure, the insecurity still screws me from time to time but today is a new day and last night was yesterday and today i will fight for today.

it's funny how i always try and protect my parents from everything that i feel because i don't want them to hurt...but i know now it hurts them more.

you reach this stage of life where you're tired of being selfish and immature and tired of blaming everyone but yourself so you learn to open up and find out the ones that really love you and will be there forever.

amazing isn't it life sometimes?

eighteen today, new milestones? greater heights to achieve? or falling falling like leaves from the autmn breeze, i know my parents did a good job, i hope i don't become a statistic.

i hope i do them proud.

love you and hope you had a good one.

natalie and dj are very blessed to have such a great mom.

About 9 years ago when I was 7, my mom tried to kill herself- im the one who found her. When people asked my brothers and I why we didnt see the signs we did not know. It became clear that she was a depressed alcholic weeks, days, hours, minutes later. I guess what im trying to say is maybe the "signs" dont show quite as much through before than after and its to late. I feel bad for the family who will never see their daughter again, or never take her to her first driving course or have a sweet sixteen birthday party for her.