It seems like every day another young person commits suicide. There are many different reasons some children choose such a drastic route to end their pain. One reason that is often cited is an intense feeling of loneliness, sometimes caused by the rejection of peers and others. Young people can be surrounded by peers, live in an urban area with millions of people and still feel as if they are all alone.
Assuming the young person does not have an underlying mental health issue though, there are some things parents can do to help their children prepare for loneliness, being alone and solitude. You can’t solve all of their social issues – especially as they reach the teen years, but you can give them extra layers of protection from severe loneliness.
The best time to help your children be ready to prevent or handle loneliness is before they become lonely. Studies have shown that not only is the need to feel like they belong a basic need, but also when they are lonely, it only increases their sense of needing to feel like they belong somewhere. (Making them more susceptible to the temptations of peers to do ungodly things in order to belong.)
So what can you do as a parent to help your kids be prepared to handle the loneliness we all feel on occasion? Here are some of my favorites (Please note: These may not work for young people who have underlying mental health issues. Please have your child checked by a doctor for loneliness that seems to last more than a few days.):