Ending a life is incredibly, incredibly tragic. It represents a lost battle with mental illness. Where it is different is that suicide is a choice. Suicide is a terrible decision made by someone whose pain is so great that they can no longer hold it, and feel they have no other option in life but to end it. They forget all the wonderful things in their lives because they are so consumed by the depression and by the feelings of not being worthy. It’s a decision you can’t take back, and a decision that will affect your friends and family forever. It is not taken lightly.
Losing a person to suicide may feel like a waste. For someone looking in, it does seem like a waste—especially in the case of Williams, who was a brilliantly funny man and a talented actor. People who are severely depressed can’t see past their failures, even if they’ve been successful. Life, however, is never wasted. Williams did things in his life that touched people to their core.
About 90% of people who commit suicide have some kind of mental illness that goes untreated or undertreated.
The national suicide prevention lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Depression and Suicide Resources
American Foundation for Suicide
About Teen Depression
Depression Fact Sheet
Talking with Kids About the News
~ TURNING STONEchoice
Anger is a normal human emotion we all have and dealing with angry children is the most challenging job of a parent or teacher. Anger is sometimes a child’s way of declaring independence. You can help children in the heat of the moment by recognizing the emotion of anger: “I can see that you are angry right now.” Help children recognize the triggers that set off the feeling of anger— what situations make them want to scream, shout, and stomp their feet with a pounding heart and heavy breathing.
Try these tips with your child when anger takes hold:
• Stop and take a moment to breathe—stop whatever you are doing , take a deep breath and step away from the situation
• Know your triggers— if there are certain things that you can’t accept take steps to avoid them
• Exercise regularly— exercise is a great way to de-stress your mind and body
• Diffuse the situation— try inter-acting to the situation versus reacting (think or talk rather than act when anger takes hold)
Learning how to deal with anger is a skill that can take a lifetime to develop. The tips above will help children master their feelings of anger. It is never too soon to teach children how to control anger so the anger doesn’t control them. These strategies may be difficult; however, with guidance and lots of practice, these tips can help children acknowledge anger and resolve conflicts peacefully.
Currently, there is an epidemic of hostile, violent, out of control behavior plaguing our schools, requiring our immediate action. Although attention and assistance must surely be given to victims, it is equally crucial to focus on the offenders, themselves. Simply put, no bully behavior, no victims.
Complicated and individualized histories exist behind bullies and the gamut of reasons for their behavior even more tumultuous. Long gone are stereotypical theories that promote a one-stop-bullying identification process. For instance, not all bullies were bullied by their parents.
There are some children who are more likely to bully others. According to a government study, “Some are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others. Others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low self esteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.”1 With an identification that includes almost anyone and everyone at some point in time, a program that reaches students where they are emotionally at any given moment is essential.
Some school programs emphasis the typical rundown of what bullying is or is not, which on a surface level is important considering a few offending students might not otherwise become aware that their behavior actually falls within the realm of bullying. Yet, we need a solution holistic in its approach that includes an examination of interpersonal relationships and tackles the core issue- cognitive choice making. The truth is bullying is just a by- product of an immature and limited choice model; as are blame, self-pity, anger and other multiple obstacles that interfere with an individual’s effective self-empowering choices.
Turning Stonechoice is that holistic approach, a flexible program for developing students’ choice-making and critical-thinking skill sets. The program targets K-12 students and can be used as a stand-alone unit, a character-development lesson, or as enrichment material in content areas like reading, social studies or writing.
The program is comprised of four fundamental components: training, parent involvement, materials, and support. The combination of these components supports the TSC Process, which is core of our program, providing a vehicle for positive choice making in a non-competitive manner.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
The following was an excerpt in an email newsletter issued by a local pediatrician:
- Bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, or over the internet.
- If your child is bullied, help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to look the bully in the eye, stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation, and walk away. Teach your child how to say, in a firm voice, “I don’t like what you are doing”, “Please do not talk to me like that”, or “Why would you say that?” Finally, teach your child when and how to ask for help.
- Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
- Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
- Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
Since when did bullying become synonymous with children? The media does an excellent job at shedding light on the bullying epidemic in this country, but it always has to do with an issue in school or on the playground. Why is this?
There’s no doubt that children are sponges; they observe what is going on around them and internalize it as education. Children are constantly surveying what is happening in society and taking note of how others (especially adults) react to circumstances.
Adults only come into the picture when they are called upon to fix a situation (or so they think, but this is a subject for another blog entry). As the excerpt above indicates, the parent is instructing the child that they should ignore a bullying situation. But what other choice does the child have?
We should be careful on how we instruct our children to face situations. We need to be cautious about dictating solutions without educating about options. More importantly, we need to consider the root of bullying in the first place.
The TURNING STONEchoice program helps adults become aware of why certain behavior issues come to be. As we help guide parents and educators on this philosophy, let’s keep in mind how we treat each other. Let’s keep a close tabs on news and world events (especially issues in the Middle East). And let us contemplate how this ever-present society is shaping our youth.