It takes a village to raise a child | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

It takes a village to raise a child

By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood

The death of an expat teenager who committed suicide in Bahrain is a shock to the community. The usual image that the public carries of people who attempt to take their own lives is of adults facing personal or financial woes or mental issues.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have teenagers who are carefree and whose problems are considered to be more easily tackled - about being on top of the class in studies and socially accepted and in trend.

In addition, while adults may often be stranded in a lonely world far from family, teenagers are seen as being embedded in a supportive family network, making thoughts of suicide more distant.

However, such is the pressure of modern life that there are many reasons for even young people to feel alienated and isolated. Although nobody knows why the recent tragedy took place, two common reasons for teenage depression, isolation and mental breakdown are peer pressure and cyberbullying.

Both these issues are hot button topics in teenage circles yet parents are strangely unaware of their impact on their children. Yes, there are ‘helicopter’ parents who hover over their kids and are quick to fight their battles for them with their peers – but not only does this not prepare the children for independent problem-solving and relationship management, it pushes the kids away from the circle of friends they seek.

The majority of parents limit their knowledge of their children’s social life to their friends – when in reality, they should try and understand their children’s opponents better. Cyber-bullying, on the other hand, is a problem hidden in full view. It creeps up across time and space lines, hitting hard from all devices including mobile phones and laptops, irrespective of day or night.

It is so incessant and hurtful that it can quickly escalate a child’s vulnerability – why, even an adult’s self-esteem - into depression and suicidal thoughts.

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By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood