My daughter told me that several of her friends were awake at 2-3am, even on week days. I was aghast. They weren’t partying or anything, just awake, watching videos, on social media, etc.
“Don’t their parents know?” I asked in surprise.
“No,” she replied. “Their parents don’t come into their rooms.”
Teenagers are notorious for not wanting to talk to their parents. Many parents have, over the years, asked me, “How come your teenagers tell you everything?” The reason is simply because we have always been close, from when they were tiny and clingy. If you had not made time for your children when they need you, they will not talk to you when you want them to. Simple fact of life. Children are not robots with on-and-off conversation switch.
If we have not invested time building bridges to our children, then they get marooned in a no-man’s land.
When children feel isolated, they develop “The Grinch” syndrome. I wrote a post with Why was the GRINCH mean? about the Sr Seuss character, who felt isolated and cut off from happy people.
Teen mental illness is rife, and unless we stay close to our children, we wouldn’t even know that they are suffering. Seemingly ‘normal’ children could be crying out for help, which goes unheard. This could be one of the reasons for uncharacteristic behaviours, something I wrote about here, about my friend Toni whose son is “different”.
You can read one mother’s account here about the onset of her child’s mental illness.
The two children in the cases I mentioned above are the fortunate ones because they have parents who are alert and aware, and who took actions. Many had no one.
In the worst cases, the sufferers take their own lives. I have known a few. The less severe ones become the Walking Woundeds, destroying others, and/or their own lives slowly in the process despite being outwardly successful in many cases.
There is no simple solution to mental illnesses, but a good start is staying close to our children, so that we understand, give the right support, and move forward with compassion.