Saturday, March 13, 2010
Life Lessons: Expressing ourselves and our feelings
Self expression is very important and when we are upset or feeling down we should seek out immediate assistance and talk to someone we trust and not keep it bottled up. Living in today's environment can be filled with challenges and disappointments and we have to realize that this is a very real part of life. Our lives at times can be filled with difficult circumstances and we always have to stay focused and know how to deal with these difficulties and the changes in our lives we will encounter.
We need to teach our children this and to always maintain an open line of communication and to listen to them and never discount what they say. Children are very bright and we need to realize that they experience a lot more today as young kids than we encountered when we were kids. Therefore if a child says something alarming it is very important to discuss their feelings with them and have them talk out what is troubling them. The changes kids experience in their pubescent years can cause them to raise many questions and to have feelings they are experiencing for the first time which may cause them confusion, anxiety and uncertainty. It is at this time in their life that we as parents must make sure we are always available to help answer their questions and properly advise them.
I have had times where my son has expressed his upset and loneliness and I am naturally feeling guilty because I feel I am not always there to help him and I wish to help him as best I can. When he does express his difficulties I try to talk to him in a way that is comforting and empathetic. My son is very sensitive and he does have many times of feeling alone even when he is surrounded with family. It is difficult being an only child and not having many friends. Our son's condition of Autism does not help matters as it seems to further contribute to his isolation and feelings of being overwhelmed in social settings.
I was recently struck and very saddened by an article I read on the internet about a 16 year old girl who was a star pitcher for her school's softball team in California and had won many accolades and had a very active social life and many friends. She was a superior student having a perfect grade point average and was already accepted on a scholarship at the University of Arizona where she wanted to start on their NCAA softball team and study pre-med. The sad part of this story is that this young beautiful and intelligent 16 year old girl was found at home dead after committing suicide. No one has answers as to why and all are left with many questions and very heavy hearts and a lot of pain.
There are so many questions as to why a young and gifted child would be in such pain to take their own life and the answers as to why are few and far between. It is a very sad reality that suicide in teens is on the rise and with the increasing pressures of life it seems there will unfortunately be more stories similar to this poor 16 year old girl from California who seemed to have a model life.
All I know is that we all have periods of feeling alone and sad in our lives no matter our age and we all from time to time will encounter depression and periods of isolation and may want to get away from the pain we feel. We must at this time recognize how very important it is to reach out and talk to someone we trust and share the pain we feel. I as a parent need to know how important it is to truly listen to my son and fully know and understand what he is going through and be there to help him and guide him. Listening to your child is the most important job you will ever have and the responsibility is a great one which must be taken very seriously.
We all have to learn to fit in and appreciate who we are so we can live full and happy productive lives. We need to feel loved and accepted and that goes especially for autistic children. My main purpose in life is to see my son learn to mature and develop and experience all the things he should be experiencing. I wish for him to excel in his school and to find activities both inside and outside of school that will interest him and provide him with challenge and opportunity. I want my son to achieve, to be happy and to find enduring friendships and most of all to feel confident in himself so one day he will be able to go out into the world as a young man with a high self esteem knowing he can do anything he wishes. I want my son to be proud, happy, successful and to have companionship.
I want my son to love life!
Edward D. Iannielli III