This week, we were jolted by the news of a brilliant undergraduate who slashed his lecturer and then jumped to his death. News later revealed that he had lost his scholarship. Once friendly and cheerful, he became withdrawn and kept the bad news from his parents and friends.
It had me thinking about communication. If he had told his parents about his problems, would he still be alive today? In his mind, he probably thought they would fly into a rage but to commit the ultimate act of suicide? His parents are devastated. His mum was inconsolable. At this point in time, they would rather have a dropout (in the worst case scenerio) than a dead son. They will be filled with regrets for the rest of their life.
I have always kept my channel of communication open with the kids. I don't want them to hide anything from me. Afterall, I've been through quite alot in life and I tell them no problems cannot be solved. Hence, I'm not that easily shocked.
Maybe they know my threshold is rather high, they don't keep their secrets from me. I know what they're up to, who their friends are and what they chat about. I don't snoop. They are quite happy to tell me. When it comes to bad news, they will warn me to brace myself first. After they have blurted out, I remain calm and give my opinion. Usually, what they deem as a 'huge' problem is a manageable one. Kids sometimes blow things out of proportion because of the lack of life experience, that's why parents are there to guide them.
Some friends think I'm too friendly with the kids that they climb all over my head. Well, in a way, they're right. But then again, their kids don't tell them anything. They keep their secrets from the parents. Maybe they fear their parents' reaction but it's a vicious cycle. They grow further apart and when the problem goes out of proportion, it becomes a ticking time bomb.
Of course kids must learn to manage and solve their own problems but there is no harm in knowing what they're going through. Sometimes a different perspective can be very helpful.
The parents must take the lead. Afterall they are the ones who bring up the child. They should listen and not pass judgement, over react and push the child away. Because once they've strayed too far, it becomes very hard to bring them back.