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March 11th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Teens under Pressure

prayIf there’s one thing I can count on when Maggie The Wonder Dog and I come in to the studio each day, it’s that my inbox is going to be jammed with thousands of  e-mails about parenting. I get questions about curfews, discipline, tantrums — you name it. I take all of your issues seriously, but I’m especially concerned when I get letters from parents who fear that their child is on the brink of taking his or her life.

As much as we hate to think about our loved ones choosing this tragic behavior, death by suicide is on the rise. In fact, it’s the third leading cause of death among teens. Sixty percent of teens say they’ve thought about it, and nine percent of high schoolers admit that they have attempted it at least once. I’m convinced that so many teens today are under great pressure — pressure to succeed, pressure to get the best grades, pressure to be accepted to a “name brand” college — and too many of them are burning out and making self-destructive decisions.

As a father myself, I know you are asking: How do you know if your son or daughter is at risk? Friday on Dr. Phil, we had a candid discussion about the challenges our kids face and the warning signs to look for, and most importantly, the Dos and Don’ts of how to have a responsible and ongoing dialogue with your teen.  A dialogue you need to have with a peace of mind that you aren’t going to be “suggesting” a dark avenue by bringing it up.

We’ll also show clips from the documentary Race to Nowhere, which features stories of young people, parents and educators from across the country who have either closely witnessed or experienced the adverse effects of teens constantly being under pressure.

Listen, I don’t want to scare you into thinking your child could be the next victim, but forewarned is forearmed. You need to be plugged in to your child’s behavior. I want this show to be a helpful wake-up call, so much so that I’ve made it available online.

If a friend or loved one is talking about or planning to take his or her life, reach out for help now. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255) or go to DrPhil.com for more resources and suggestions).

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105 Responses to “Teens under Pressure”

  1. Fran says:

    I need to talk to someone; I am not a teenager but a 39 yr old woman

  2. Fran says:

    I am not a teenage mom; I am 39 yr. old Mom who has tried once to end my life and on the verge of it tonight!!!!

  3. Siyabonga says:

    So incredibly sad. Unfortunately, it often takes trdeeaigs to get people to create change. I’ve been so glad at my school that we have taken on bullying seriously. One thing we have is “Bully Reports” where students can fill out forms anonymously (or not) reporting a bullying incident that has happened to them or someone they know. The entire staff is then notified so we can keep our eyes open for it.I hope the best for your sister. It’s so hard when we want to protect those that we love.

  4. Jay says:

    If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments. ~Earl Wilson

  5. This isn’t about me. I did get teased in school and it did hurt, but I never felt hopeless. I wrote the second part of the poem for my granddaughter when she told me about an incident at school. My granddaughter is my world!!! I wanted to nip it in the bud so to speak.
    I watch all of your shows and think that you and Robyn are amazing!!! Not amazing celebrities, amazing people!! Y’all are kind, loving, caring and most of all awesome parents and grandparents.
    I wanted to share this with y’all because I want to help. I put my poem on my facebook but if you wouldn’t mind, would you put it on yours?
    It would be much appreciated, Yaya Pam


    Dear Bully, I’m the one you use to bully every day,
    you made me hate going to school, but I had to go anyway! 
    Sometimes to avoid you I would try and go to in late,
    but standing outside our classroom door you would always wait!
    I never understood why you bullied me?
    I had to wear my glasses or I couldn’t see.
    I always came to school and did what I had to do,
    I couldn”t help it if I wasn”t as pretty as you……
    I often wondered,  if bullies didn’t exist,
    would I have gone to college and been on the dean’s list?
    Would I have I have been invited to the prom, and just like all the rest,
    gone shopping with my mom looking for that special dress?
    Would my father have walked me down the aisle on my wedding day?
    And by now would I have a precious baby on the way?
    I will never know what living is all about,
    because I chose what I THOUGHT was my only way out……
    The very second I did it I regretted what I’d done,
    what was I thinking? Now YOU had won!!!!!
    I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay,
    if I could have a do over, this is what I’d say……….

      Dear Bully,
    You ought to be ashamed of yourself,
    thinking that you’re better than everyone else!
    You’re always looking people up and down,
    and make everyone uncomfortable when you’re around!
    You think being pretty is what it’s all about, 
    but Lord knows you’re not pretty from  the inside out!
    Making fun of others just isn’t right,
    I don’t know how you can sleep at night!
    I may never know why you do what you do,
    but I’ll continue to pray for you!
    You really hurt my feelings, but in the end,
    you’re not the kind of person I want for a friend !

    If you’re being bullied I want you to know you’re NOT ALONE!!
    Don’t let some insecure bully ruin your life!!!
    They have people that can help you! Go to your parents, your school counselor!!!
    Most importantly, remember this, there is NOTHING wrong with YOU!!
    The bully is the one with the problem!!!!!
    God loves you, and so do I…….
    Yaya Pam

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