• Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 1331
  • Grade: 95
The adolescent years are a time of change, heightened expectations, and sometimes painful
emotions that make day to day problems extremely hard to cope with. Unfortunately a lot of teenagers
on the threshold of their adulthood give up trying and choose to end their lives. Their reasons are left a
mystery for the families and friends to wonder about. Nonetheless, there are some researched causes
for such irrational behavior. The main ones include, family and peer relationships and the influence of
media. Experts believe that these causes have led to most of the suicide attempts.

        In many cases, parents are blamed for the deaths of their children due to the arousal of
misunderstanding and conflicts in the relationship with their child. Each family is different in their
ways of setting up rules and standards. Strict parents can cause a youth to impose unrealistically high
standards on themselves or feel a need to impress the surrounding adults. Due to this factor, the youth's
concept of self-worth is so heavily oriented towards achievement, that they often can't even be
second-best. Other times, a teenager might fail to meet the family's expectations. Weak educational
results or achievements can result in lack of support that a child needs at that age.
        Through the eyes of an adolescent, parents can be very hard to understand. For example, some
parents expect their child to be both dependent and independent at the same time. Parents often have
mood changes that are too quick for a child to catch up to, resulting in confusions. There has been a
large increase in the rate of divorced and remarried families which also brings confusion. Such changes
usually require a lot of time for the children to get used to. However, during this time the youth can fall
into isolation and when pushed by another change, can easily be triggered towards suicide. A recent
report noted: "Youth who come from divided families have few friends and are failing school related
        Reconstructed families can be quite different from biological ones. Every child needs attention,
love and be given sense of belonging. In many dysfunctional families, this is ignored. For instance,
some parents show their love verbally and when it comes to physical expression of care they stand
back and push their child away. Such parental behavior conveys mixed feelings and misunderstandings
as to why the parents are acting this way. This type of neglection can traumatize a child for the rest of
their life. George Howe Colt pointed out that "some 90% of teenage suicide attempts are made at
home and 70% of those are while the parents are at home. A person that attempts suicide under these
conditions seems to want to be found to increase the attention given from the parents".
        In addition to bad parenting, abusive families may love their children but they may treat them
in ways that send out dangerous messages, such as the idea of suicide, and force on an emotional
isolation. Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center psychiatrists found a history of family violence in
suicidal teenagers that they have studied. "Over 40% of them had had physical fights with their
families, which suggests that suicide and family violence have a close connection".
        If families can be more supportive and understanding towards one another, it would be a lot
easier to control each others acts. Children are the most important part of the family and if they are
mistreated they will not have the mature minds to solve problems on their own.        

        Much like the family, the surrounding environment of an adolescent, plays an important role in
the causes of suicide. Friends, lovers, teachers and companions can all cause a mood change and
loneliness. Teenage years are the time for change in personality, maturity and the introduction of
sexual attractions. Disappointment or rejection in love, the so called "Romeo and Juliet syndrome".
is often cited as a factor. Teenagers tend to center their life on the idea of losing a love, once they've
lost it, and turn to low self-esteem, sense of despair and hopelessness. Many times the youth would be
embarrassed or shy to let anyone else know about the loss and hide the pain instead of freeing
themselves of it.
        Many teenagers, mostly female, also have trouble talking about sexual abuse, rape or
pregnancy. A number of teenagers are forced into sexual activities before they are ready to commit
themselves to it. Harvard researcher Eva Deykin studied 159 adolescents who attempted suicide and
found that they were often responding to physical or sexual abuse. Teenagers who experience such
events are scared to let others know. Furthermore, a loss of a friend or being jealous of anothers
success, can change a teenagers sense of direction. The youth might think that they will never find
anymore friends or that they don't deserve anything because of their lack of success. They quickly give
up trying to improve their habits and look at everything in a negative manner.
        Peers and friends are on the same level of importance as family because they both equally have
the ability to trigger a teenager into committing suicide. Peers make up a large portion of a teenagers
life and many guide them to either success or failure. It is up to the individual to chose which advice
they'd rather follow.

        Media has been a large information source for many years. It portrays a number of educational
programs, however a large number of programs depict improper behavior like violance, hate,
disrespect and death. This influence has never been good for the mental development of a youth.
        Television is the main source of media. It is known that an average teen watches 18-28 hours
of television per week. Just imagine the amount of ideas that are being thrown at a teenager in those
hours. When adolescents view different programs, they become gullible and accept the television
behavior as normal and rational. They become desensitized to violance and death. Teenagers are not
aware of what is right or wrong beause parents don't have time to teach them and media takes
advantage of that factor. M. Gould and D. Shaffer researched the effect of four made-for-TV movies
about teen suicide over a period of six months. "The suicide rate rose in the two following weeks. Six
more teenagers that would have been expected took their lives and the attempts grew by 40%".
        The stars that are aired and advertised on television have become idols and symbols of hope
for many adolescents. Many youths base their lives and goals around the popularity and success of
these actors. Sadly, many don't realize that actors are artificial and live in artificial worlds. When a
famous person commits suicide, like Kurt Kobain for example, the suicide rate usually rises. This is
referred to as "copy-cat" suicide. At this time teenagers might feel no hope, faith, dreams and have no
one to look up to. With these thoughts they take their lives.
        Similar types of influence comes from music. Rock music groups in particular, like Ozzy
Osbourne, are blamed for inspiring suicide in their teenage listeners. Just like television actors,
musicians have a power in changing their audiences' mood and feelings. Many individuals believe that
the problem solving technique stated throughout the lyrics, have actually been used by the singer.
Since many of these lyrics can be related to a teenagers life, they can trigger them into suicide.
        Television, actors, actresses and music are all part of a cause of teenage suicide. Media has
always influenced the mind of a human being and it continues to do so by sending out different types
of messages. A lot of people do not see the influence and make no effort to change or stop it.

        In the end, family, peers and media are truly the major cause of teenage suicide. Family
influences are extremely important while the child is still developing. Their friends and peers are
important in a sense that they can guide and help a teenager to reach their goals. Finally, the influence
of the media should be carefully analyzed and examined for the fact that it sends out a lot of unwanted
ideas that simply lead to tragic deaths.
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