Since September 2009, there have been 6 student suicides  at Cornell University.  So the headlines say, “Cornell in Crisis!”  “All these students at Cornell taking their lives, likely due to depression because of the stress.” Cornell has taken affirmative action to help students stay healthy by spreading awareness about depression and ways to avert it.  But hold on, is it all the school’s fault?
The easiest thing in the world is to blame someone else for what happens to us and our families.  But what about the parents?  While no doubt, much stress comes from the the grueling academic calendar kids are expected to maintain, what part do the parents play?  I”d venture to say the real stress comes from the parents who undeniably and relentlessly push, and push, and push their kids to the point of exhaustion, and regretfully sometimes suicide.
In my work with kids over the years, the early indicators of trouble are crystal clear.  As an outsider–I can see them; oftentimes the kids can see them too, but it’s the parents who miss the signals, or don’t care to see them.  Driven by the need for their kids to be perfect–for any number of reasons–and at all cost, parents compel their kids to straddle that thin and delicate line between healthy and unhealthy.  And, the disfunction doesn’t start when they go to college, it begins early in the child’s formative years.
Kids as young as 9, 12, 15 are obessesd with being perfect, whether in how they look or how they perform in school.  Sadly, for most of them, that awful day of awakening will come when they realize that they aren’t perfect and never will be.  For many kids, this sets the stage for depression and a resort to drugs, alcohol, unhealthy sexual behaviors, and sometimes–suicide.
If you find yourself in this spot, what can you do? Summon the courage to make an honest assessment of your life and the part you’ve played in the unfolding of this experience.   Tough request, but an important first step.
Until next time, I’m Breakthrough Life Coach, Francine Ward (www.esteemableacts.com)

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