The modern day teenagers are experiencing life on a different level, from a few years ago. We are seeing increasing numbers of suicide cases compared to other age groups, and more questions than answers are being raised concerning this situation. Cases of hopelessness, depression and frustration are on the increase, and the teenagers have counteracted by resulting into increased use of drugs, prostitution, violence, and eventual suicide. This simply explains why crime is on the increase, especially in the worst hit areas.
Automatically, we tend to put blame on the difficult economic hardships, but as much as it has some bearing to it, the root problem lies within our family set – up. By definition, a family is a unit of people, consisting of parents and their children living together. It may include other descendants, and lately, unrelated people have been included in a family. The word of God has charged fathers with the responsibility of raising up children, teaching them rightfully and instilling Godliness in them, that when they grow up, they should not depart from it. This is no longer the case; our todays’ teens have less Godliness in their lives. Men have literary failed to “Man – up”, that women have no choice but to raise the children by themselves, and I must commend them for the effort to raise them rightfully. It does not mean that they do a perfect job, but the sheer effort has paid off in so many ways. What then, can we do differently to reduce the cases of hopelessness and depression that has led to many teenagers committing suicide?
First and foremost, in order have teenagers been engaged in constructing their lives; we must revisit the family set – up. The definition of a father is not merely biological. A father is expected to provide care, protection, leadership and above all, love. This goes beyond physical ability, as it entails psychological, intellectual/mental and spiritual aspects of it. A child should feel safe to run to the father for cover. By their absence, the child has nowhere to go, which happens to be the case nowadays. In the Christian set – up, our Father is God, to whom we channel our entire lives through His Son Jesus Christ. He said, “No one goes to the Father except through Him”. In John 5:19 – 23, Jesus speaks of His Father as His guide and mentor. My word of encouragement is for those men out there who have abandoned their families; this is the time to put everything behind you and man – up. You will have solved half the problems of the depression, hopelessness and suicide cases arising among the teenagers. Spend time with your children and develop a relationship to a point that your child can run to you for cover when needed and without reservations. Teach them the difference between necessary recognition and unnecessary recognition, for one fact remains, teens desire recognition, and if they fail to achieve it, they succumb into depression, a road to suicide. It has to be backed up by living as an example. For wives, be there for your children. Let them feel free with you and teach them to respect their fathers as much as they respect you. Attend to their needs without intruding their lives, and more importantly, improving your relationship with your husband has to be your every day’s ‘to-do- list’.
Secondly, there is what I refer to as ‘divorce rampage’ in the modern society. The increasing rate of divorce has contributed greatly to depression within our young people. The manner in which divorce takes place leaves a lot of damage and emotional violence in our children; this leaves them growing up negatively, and eventually lose hope for a constructive future. They then become easy prey for gangs and prostitution. The rate at which divorce happens simply reflects our decreasing tolerance of one another and deteriorating morals. If husbands and wives can go back to the drawing board and relearn marriage, I believe then, that divorce will be on the decline, as well as hopelessness in our children and teenagers. With time, we can then enjoy a depression free life, with hard – working teenagers who contribute constructively to the society.
Thirdly, the school systems as well as other institutions of social development such as the YMCA/YWCA, the boy/girl scout associations and even the Churches and other spiritual centers, need to develop programs that promote life. There is a need to increase programs in these institutions that will combat drug addiction, peer influence, and even to cope with depression cases among the teenagers. Teenagers desire recognition, a feeling of safety and confidentiality when they come to us for help. Why should we fail them, if we claim to love them? The corporation of the social development centers, school systems and family can work towards developing the teenagers more effectively and more productively.