“All children should be taught to unconditionally accept, approve, admire, appreciate, forgive, trust, and ultimately, love their own person.” ~Asa Don Brown
TIME recently ran a story about the increase in suicides among Black children. A study revealed that the suicide rate among black children increased from 2.54 per one million to 1.36 per million. The rate for white children fell to .77 per one million, down from 1.14 per one million. The article goes on to discuss possible reasons for the increase, however what stood out for me what this was a study of children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old. While I have my own opinion on suicide and in particular in relation to children, I will keep this post about the importance of building up our children’s self-worth and teaching them to love themselves.
They are probably a myriad of factors that led to the increase of the the suicide rates among black children. One fact that many of us would agree on is that there had been a breakdown in the black family. Absent fathers, stressed out mothers, high unemployment and poverty all have increased in our community. If our children don’t feel loved and aren’t taught love in the home, they seek it elsewhere. The cold cruel world is no place for anyone, especially a child to go looking for love, self-worth and acceptance. Let’s work on being kinder to our children. Loving our children and paying attention to what we say to them. “Our children” doesn’t equate to just your own children. “Our children” includes your kids’ friends, your friends’ kids (especially if you know your friend may be having a tough time), and your extended family.
It’s not always easy to make time in the week to spend extra time with the kids, so here are a few ideas that can increase the communication between you and your child. These tips will also allow your child to feel comfortable making decisions and a chance for you to show your support in their decisions (or even help guide them into making better decisions).
-Let them pick their clothes
-Let them pick the book (not just at bedtime, but the books you buy)
-Let them pick dinner (this is one where your guidance may be necessary)
-Explore an interest they choose
-Talk about their school day (get specific about what they liked about the day what they didn’t)
-Think before we speak. Are we chastising a wrong behavior or criticizing a behavior because it is different than ours?
-Make it a point to compliment or encourage your child on a daily basis.
-If they fail or don’t do well don’t dwell on it. Acknowledge it and discuss ways they can do something better next time.
-Acknowledge your child’s strengths.
While it is a great feeling to see our best qualities in our children, we need to embrace and love their unique qualities as well. Let’s spend quality time with our kids, and let them know they are supported and loved even though they may not behave just like us.
Frugal Feministas- What are your thoughts on the increase of the suicide rate among black children? Do we need to build up the black family or has the black community strayed too far from the church?
Christina Lattimore|Blogger & Mental Health Advocate|SpeakAwaytheStigma.org