In today's world where families are undergoing such a wide variety of stresses there are more teens that are dealing with some pretty tough issues. The first thing as a parent to think about is that as bad as it might be there is probably not anything new that others have not had to deal with. We have always had death, divorce, economic crisis, parental unemployment, etc. It goes back to that old saying, "The death of 100 men is a statistic. The death of one man is a tragedy." What is the real issue is that this is new to that individual. It really does not change the hurt, confusion, depression, etc. that the iindividual has to deal with. Each individual and each problem is different. It would be wonderful if there was a prescription for parents on how to respond to these issues in a standard manner.
What we do know is that there are some basic guidelines for parents:
1. Every teen needs someone they can talk with and have open honest communication with.
2. Teens need parents and not parents as best friends.
3. Teens need rules and role models.
4. Parents need to work toward simplification when life throws them and their children a curve.
5. Families in crisis usually pull together to get through difficult times. This is generally a good thing.
6. Parents and their teens need to plan together for a positive future.
The biggest tragedy is the loss of hope for the future.