Monday, January 12, 2015

Distressed Dad with a Suicidal Daughter

Dear Readers,                                                                                           

We want to wish you a Happy New Year and we hope that your holidays were filled with love, forgiveness, and true joy.

The following is our first letter of the year 2015 (We change names and details to keep the letter writers anonymous):

Dear Rhonda,

I’m a dad who has sole custody of my daughter Janice (along with my mom). My daughter’s mom isn’t in the picture.

It’s been hard on my daughter and she’s a beautiful 14 year old who is in the 8th grade. She has been bullied non-stop on Facebook and her phone by a former friend who is jealous of her and has rallied others girls at her school to join her.

She wants to change schools now, even though it would be almost impossible for me to take her to another school because I have to be at work too early. I asked her to hang on until the next school year when we can easily change her high school and she would be able to get a ride from my friend’s daughter. It’s a Christian school.

She has told me and her grandma several times that she feels like committing suicide. My mom thinks she is blowing things way out of proportion. She tells Janice to just ignore the threats and messages calling her a whore and a slut etc. Janice is a virgin (as far as I know).

We went to the school but they did nothing and said both girls were just drama queens.

What do you think is the right answer?

Distressed Dad with a Suicidal Daughter

Dear Distressed Dad with a Suicidal Daughter,

Two thoughts come to our minds first:

Is she willing to talk with you about boys and her sex life? She may have experimented and feels badly about herself. If she’s willing to tell you that she is having thoughts about suicide, hopefully she will talk with you and your mom about further details in her life and how you may help her.

Next, we want to tell you that it may not seem to you and your mom that she will really try to commit suicide but it happens all the time. Suicides between the ages of 10-14 have risen 100% in the last several years. You need to take her comments seriously and realize that a suicide is never convenient.

If you are serious about changing her schools and she wants to change her school, then it would be a great choice. It would show her that she is your first priority.

Then you need to also have her off Facebook for six months to a year (or until she is an adult). Monitor her phone or take it away and tell her that she is not being punished but she is being protected by you.

Please ask your mom to go to our website and read other letters about suicide and/ or go to websites with statistics on bullying suicide rates for young girls. Suicide seems like a real viable option to young girls who are depressed from loss of family members, friends and her identity. Losing her mom is a great loss and she needs to feel validation that it is okay to grieve that loss.

Her teenage development is going to be strained if she does not learn how to identify who she is and how precious she is in the eyes of God. She seems open to receiving religious help and mentoring, if she’s willing to attend a Christian school, and we want to encourage you to do everything it takes to get her to another school and to receive help learning how to define herself instead of letting others define her as worthless and bad. 

Please take actions now.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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