Having worked with quite a few teens of late it seems that many are angry with their lives. Listening to a recent interview with Dr. Bernie Siegal, a very well respected surgeon known for his work with kids with cancer, he mentioned that 70% of teens 14-18 are suicidal at some point. According to the National Institute of Health suicide is the leading cause of death for 15 -24 year olds.
These statistics are important because it demonstrates how much pain our kids are suffering even though most of them have anything they could possibly want on the material level. Dr. Siegal stated emphatically that it is his belief that parents are forcing kids to get all A’s for their grades and when they don’t achieve it because of other interests, the parents tell the kids that they have to stop those other interests till they get their grades up. One of the cases that Dr. Siegal spoke of was a child who volunteered his time to a cause he really believed in. When his grades slid a bit, the parents told him that he had to stop his volunteering. The day after his parents told him this, he went to school and shot himself in the head killing himself. Dr. Siegal explained that It is as if the kids are not allowed to live their own lives and when this occurs, kids can and will take their lives, feeling they have no control over their lives. If you believe that you as a parent may be more interested in school grades then your child having a well rounded life, do realize that there are many other areas of life that children can learn important lessons from as was true in the case above.
In regards to another topical issue, I just worked with a college student who had been feeling like a demon had taken him over from the time he was four years old. He felt his life had been drained from him. During the first hypnosis session it became evident that this particular teen first recalled being bullied by an eight year old when he was six. He reported feeling like he was different and never felt he fit in with other kids. During the second session he recalled being molested when he was four years old. His father was present during the second session and was amazed at what he was hearing his son say. He now understood why his son went from being a happy four year old to a very thoughtful serious young man, grades falling in his college studies. To the parents credit they did get a counselor to work with him a few years ago. For whatever the reason the teen was not ready to do the work until now. Bullying is a major reason that kids are not feeling very good with a recent study citing that 70% of all kids have either been bullied or were victims of it. Sadly an average of 162,000 kids stay home from school daily fearful of being bullied.
With the advent of social networking and all the technology that kids have at their fingertips it is imperative that they learn how to respect how to use it, according to Elizabeth Englander, PH.D., a specialist of anger reduction in school kids. Many times kids act impulsively saying things on Facebook and Myspace that can be very hurtful to those they call their friends. It is easy to do this because the hurt kid is not being faced by the bully, Dr. Englander explained. The same hurt response can occur when unbecoming pictures are texted to their friends by another. One needs to ask where all this anger is coming from to inflict this sort of pain on another.
Another cause of distress for kids is the divorce of their parents and then partnering of the parents with someone else, sometimes with kids of their own. They end up becoming a part of a larger family after feeling the loss of their own. I just had this situation recently with one of my young clients. He was an only child, whose parents got divorced. His father hooked up with an old friend and two of her kids moved in with them. All of a sudden he is living in a house with three kids with another of the kids of his father’s companion living at his father’s house. The issue here was first whether he was at fault for the divorce in some way. This was effectively dealt with by his dad explaining how it is that sometimes we have friends who we no longer have anything in common with and so we move on. The issue of having all these other kids become part of his family was handled by his becoming aware of the positive relationships he can have especially with the oldest one who he looks up to even if he isn’t allowed to participate in all the activities of this older teen.
Several years ago I had an emergency nurse bring in her teen who had gone through a tough break up of her relationship with her boyfriend. She decided that I as a hypnotist would be able to swiftly help her daughter as I had helped the younger brother with his pulling of his eye lashes. In this case it was a two session intervention and all was fine with this young girl.
I had another high school female brought to me because she was having some difficulties with her ice hockey coach. It was during our session that her mother wrote on a piece of paper of her four young friends that had passed away in the past three years, one of them a suicide. She was carrying around much grief that was dealt with in one session in a matter of two hours total.
Kids are easy to work with hypnotically. They are in fantasy as a normal state of being making it easy for them to enter the hypnotic work. They are usually willing to resolve the problems that they come in to attend to. If they are not ready, they are not invited to do the work. They have to want to resolve their issues for the work to be effective.
If you have a child who seems sad, is isolating and not interested in those things that they used to be, understand that there is definitely something going on deep inside that kid. If they are bullying others, acting out in an angry manner, this is a sign that needs to be taken seriously. To the teen there are no answers and worse no one who can help them. However, this is a false notion.
These young people do indeed know what the issue is that is the cause of their sadness or anger, but may do not have conscious access to it. In many of the cases when I have worked with teens they have been able to fairly easily tap into their unconscious mind to find the answer and, more importantly the solution. For teens it usually takes a couple of sessions to clear them of their problems because they are able to work very quickly. They have had very little time being stuck in that problem.
I know that many hypnotists do not allow the parents to be in session with their children. My policy is to leave it up to the teen because as you can see as in the some of the cases above, the parents gave me information that was very important to clearing the problem as well as integral to the healing process itself. I would suggest that you call a hypnotist who knows how to work with kids of their age to quickly resolve their problem. The beautiful thing is that hypnosis can be done without medication clearing that teen of whatever is bothering them.
I would like to comment here on the recent media coverage of the principle in Florida who hypnotized some of the students in his school to increase their grades and enhance their sports performance. While it is true that two of the students went on to commit suicide, that one cannot stop another from doing anything they are going to do. The coverage did not say that the principle had any idea that these kids may be in emotional trouble. IF the principle was aware of these teens having any ideas of suicide, it was his responsibility to refer them for professional help. At the time of this coverage there is no evidence that he was aware of any such problems. The issue that I see with the media coverage is that it is implying that the two suicides were caused by hypnotic sessions when there currently is no evidence to prove that was the case.
Understand that even licensed mental health workers who know that their clients are suicidal do the best that they can to protect their patients from doing anything that would place them in harms way. However, sadly, no one can control the actions of another. Once a person has made the decision to end their life, that is their decision. All we can do is wake up to any symptoms that may be telling us that our kids are going through a difficult time and let them know we are there to help them in any way we can.
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