Once more we have to hear of a school shooting where children died and the person holding the gun was a misunderstood, unexpected youth. This is not an essay on guns….perhaps for another time, however, it is an essay on the state of today’s youth and how society seems to be failing them.
Covid taught us many many things, not the least of which was that humans are social beings. With few exceptions, children are social beings too. This social need must be appreciated and encouraged. Socialization keeps us from isolation and the consequences of it. Too much research has shown that isolation and the depression that goes with it, can be a heavy mental load for those individuals as they grow older. It also gets worse without the proper help.
We are all responsible for the esteem of those around us. Using respect and courtesy and remembering we will never understand another’s burden, we can be the Village that raises our teens with their esteem and self-worth intact.
My daughter tried to commit suicide with an overdose of her father’s sleeping pills when she was 14 years old. My daughter is on the spectrum, she was home schooled after the school refused to have her tested and she thrived as a scholar at home, but she still had no friends. Social situations were difficult for her. I coached and acted out with her as many scenarios as I could think of so she had social cues. However, there are always those that do not get covered and sniggering and laughing and avoidance will happen.
How did I handle her depression? I found everything I could she had interest in and encouraged it to my being. I made sure she had the books she wanted. I took her to adult meetings for gardening, crafting, writing workshops, anything with animals, and allowed her to explore the internet with me to find social groups there.
She thrived in her new self study, homeschooled, topics she wanted. She graduated with a 99% on her GED, the first in Pinellas County. Went on for an AS in General Science, Bachelor’s in Medical Science, and Master’s in Medical Science with a Certificate in Women’s Health.
She is still lonely at times, however, she has an autistic social group now in Gainesville and she let me know last week that when her father had passed and my sons forgot who I was, I could live with her. She likes my company. I guess I did something correctly.