Prayers and good thoughts please

Annie DeighnaughJune 12, 2014

My GF called last night to tell me her 12 yr old grand daughter tried to commit suicide. She has been in counseling as they knew she was having difficulty and they were being proactive, but obviously they weren't prepared for this. The entire family is shook. Seems to be around school and classmate issues. Children can be so cruel. And at that age, no matter how much your family loves you, you need acceptance from your peers, and if they don't give it, it can be so devastating. With hormones raging and everything at that age seeming so totally important and life critical, it's a huge load to bear on little shoulders. I'm sometimes amazed that any of us have survived adolescence.

Please send loving thoughts to Samantha...she sure could use them.


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Sending deepest wishes for strength, calm, balance and healing ....

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:58AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks, teacats.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:07AM
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Oh Annie, my thoughts and prayers are with your friend, her gd and her family. I hope they've got her hospitalized and in good hands. Teen suicide and depression has touched close friends of mine, and it's devastating. Forever.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:09AM
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what a terrible thing for her to go through, the desperation she must have felt is unimaginable for us. Bullying is being addressed at many levels but it has to be zero tolerance, there are too many cases like this.

good luck to her and speedy recovery... keep us posted !

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Having raised two daughters, my heart goes out to your friend and her family.
I think back on all the difficulties and issues that needed to be worked through. Very, very hard.

Sending caring thoughts.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:39AM
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Best thoughts going out to Samantha. Can't imagine the pain they are going through. Kids can be so cruel.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:42AM
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Oh goodness, thoughts for strength and persistence going to Samantha and family. We've been dealing with dancing on the edge of it and it's been the worst stress DH and I have ever known.

I'll just mention here that middle school is one reason why *many* families begin homeschooling, at least for the duration of middle school. The schools by and large don't protect kids, they just have a policy statement that says they do. We've met so many wonderful kids through homeschooling who came to it right at the middle school years. You can *see* the relief, and the tension washing *off* them, when they get to know the community. Kids blossom. I knew one public school teacher who adopted two little girls from China--they went through elementary, then the teacher stopped working and hs'd them through middle, then they went back for high. She said there's no way that that the institutional middle school experience was the best thing for anyone, and she had it in her power to make a better experience for them, so she did.

Might the family consider letting Samantha learn outside of the institution? There are many and vibrant homeschooling communities of all stripes/persuasions--**not just the cliche images that are perpetuated in the media**. Right wing, left wing, school-at-home, radical unschooling, classical homeschooling, religious, secular, pastafarian, hybrids, middle-of-the-roaders, families with kids on the spectrum, families of kids who have been bullied... You can start to find the wide variety of local resources just by googling.

When Samantha's ready, of course...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:56AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughts.

I don't know if financially home schooling will work for them, but I will mention it as an option. Somehow I think of home schooling as lasting through high school and never thought that it could be something just to get them through middle school. Thanks for that, flyleft. The good news is Samantha's aunt is a high school teacher who works with troubled kids so can bring a lot of experience and perspective to the situation too.

I think part of it is the limited ability for parents and school admins to even be aware that it's going on as, even when I was growing up, kids had ways of communicating on the sly and adults were clueless, and that was long before technology came along and made it so much easier.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:28AM
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My heart is breaking for her and her family. Please keep us updated on how she is doing.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 12:45PM
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So sad - I hear of so many kids now days who are depressed, can't cope, attempting suicide, etc. not to mention all the ones who cope by shooting a bunch of people and themselves.

Is the world a much more difficult place for kids these days or are they so "protected" from unsavory and disappointing things that they don't learn to cope at an early age when the environment is less threatening & hostile.

I know two wonderful families with beautiful young daughters who on the surface seem to have lived a charmed life but both are clinically depressed and of course at risk of suicide.

I just don't remember this being so prevalent when I was growing up and I wonder what has changed. I dealt with all kinds of crap when I was a child/adolescent and I was never depressed or suicidal. Was I just lucky or has something changed now?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Oh my gosh Annie I am so sorry you and your GF's family are going through this.

Next Friday I will be going to a funeral for the son of a GF. He was 30 years old and committed suicide. He had depression/fitting in/acceptance issues since grade 7. He did do alternative schooling and counselling as well. His parents thought he was doing well having completed an apprenticeship program and living on his own with a job. His mom is a high school psychologist. They are. of course, kicking themselves for perhaps having missed some signs.

The one thing they have said in the past when he has stumbled is that they wished they had kept up his counseling even when everyone said he was "fine". They wished they had found him a mentor/counselor to carry him through late teens and early adult to help him with those transition phases when we may doubt ourselves and our choices that we all go through as we become adults.

This advice isn't going to help them in the immediate future but perhaps is something they can keep in mind later.

My thoughts are with you all.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 1:45PM
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What a heartbreak. I will certainly keep them all in my thoughts. It seems no one is immune.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 2:06PM
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This is so heartbreaking. Teen suicide has also affected very close friends of ours. I am praying for Samantha and her family.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 2:16PM
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Oh, Annie, how terribly, terribly sad. Thank goodness she was unsuccessful.

Middle schoolers are savages. The way I have explained it to my kids, is that preteens are just starting to become aware of the pecking order that all animals engage in, but they are not mature enough to have really developed empathy or compassion. The empathy does not come until they are young adults, by which time - no matter who you are - you yourself have felt rejected or inadequate somewhere, sometime. Until that humbling experience comes, IMHO, many kids are so narcissistic they do not even see what they are doing.

One of our children's headmasters also made this point -- the "job" of middle schoolers is to pull away from their parents. But as they do that, they need some relationship to help fill that void. Ideally, it could be a mentor, coach, teacher, older sibling. But too often it is only other, flailing, "emotionally incompetent" middle schoolers. Especially for children in very large schools, moving from class to class with little adult involvement of any real depth, the void is real.

I think schools have actually gotten much better at teaching kids respect and kindness, but it is still an almost primal process to get to adulthood.

I do hope they can find a way to get her in a different school. Poor kid, it is so hard to see a 12yr old suffer, especially when, with the perspective of an adult, you know that many of her worries are really transient issues.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Annie, what a sad thing to hear! I'm thankful Samantha is still with her family and hope she will get good help she needs.

Seeing my 2 oldest granddaughters just emerging from this age, thankfully unscathed and strong, I was reminded how hurtful and ugly middle schoolers can be. It seems the girls are the worst, trying to find their pecking order, establish themselves in whatever social hierarchy they imagine for themselves. I'm quite sure with all the social media available these days too, it is hard for some to cope with it all. Will be sending prayers and healing thoughts to her and her family.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 2:41PM
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I am so sorry your GF is faced with such a difficult situation. Middle School is such an awful age. Good thoughts & prayers for the girl & her family. I too hope they can find a way to get her in another school.

This post was edited by eandhl on Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 15:00

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 2:59PM
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I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. I hope the family is able to cope and carve out a positive path for the child to safely navigate her feelings.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:25PM
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Heartbreaking. I am so sorry.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 5:29PM
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So very sorry to hear... Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:22PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you all so much for your very kind, thoughtful and touching words. It certainly helps me, and I will share them with GF so she knows that there is a much wider world out that full of wonderful people who are all pulling for her and her family. I so appreciate it.

Children of that age are just learning how powerful they can be as a pack, esp against their peers. They enjoy flexing those muscles and observing the impact it has on their target. Unfortunately, it doesn't end at adolescence....I've seen too much of that behavior among the sociopaths who succeed so well in business. The only difference is, that for most of us as adults, we are able to compartmentalize the impact that behavior has on us and shield our most vulnerable selves from the cruelest of them. But for the young, they don't have those skills yet, so are especially vulnerable.

Unfortunately, I know only too well the impact suicide has on those left behind...all the woulda coulda shoulda's...all the self blame for missing signs, for the especially deep hole it leaves in one's spirit knowing their loved one was in such deep despair that death seemed a far better option than life, and knowing that of all the things that could've been done, from suicide, there is no going redo. So terribly hard.

I think if the person in that despair understood the pain their loss would inflict on their family, they wouldn't do it. But somehow I think at that time, they feel that their absence will actually improve things for those left behind...the strong emotions can so pervert their thinking.

All so very sad.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Annie, I'm so sorry to read this about your friend's granddaughter. If any good comes of this, it may be the discovery that she either has or is predisposed to mental illness. There is a spectrum, of course, and many kids who experience this type of trauma in their youth grow up to be adults with a solid mental foundation. I hope this is what she builds for her future.

On the topic of suicide, mental illness is difficult to comprehend for those who do not suffer from it. Many believe those who commit suicide aren't considering the feelings of their loved ones, and this is a misconception and puts blame on those who are sick. The following article is worth a read, written by a great researcher at UCLA. (He's a fantastic writer.) Those who suffer from mental illness fight a battle every day that many do not understand, and that society and our medical community do not adequately address. It's a neurological disorder--a medical condition. When a person suffering from mental illness commits suicide, it has nothing to do with how much they love or don't love their family and friends--it means they couldn't face their battle one more day. Suicide is a result of the vast extent of their suffering.

My thoughts are with your friend's granddaughter, and that those around her approach her condition as a legitimate illness that needs long-term treatment. I hope she eventually receives from our poorly informed society and medical community the respect and understanding that mental illness warrants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Observations on the depressed brain

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:49PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you peony. I do disagree somewhat. Yes there is a depression that is due to chemical imbalances in the brain and lifelong struggles, but there is also a depression that's due to incorrect thinking about oneself and one's situation...the kind of thing that cognitive behavioral therapy targets which has had some efficacy with suicidal adolescents. We are learning more about how one's perceptions can actually change one's brain...change one's thinking and the brain will follow.

Here is a link that might be useful: CBT and suicide

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:38AM
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Yes, and I'm a supporter of CBT, especially as a viable alternative to pharmaceutical approach of treating depression. And the author in my prior link--as well as so many others in this field of research, such as Shawn Anchor--makes this connection, as well.

What I advocate is the understanding and acceptance that your friend's granddaughter's situation might be broader than what it appears. This may not be a situation of middle-school angst and despair, of cyber-bullying and the pain and heartache that comes with growing up in our current culture. These circumstances require intervention, for sure, of course. But she may have a neurological disorder. Any attempt at suicide, whether at 12 or at any age, should be examined more comprehensively than what our current standards of practice dictate. To use middle school issues as the explanation here might be missing the bigger picture.

Annie, I'm editing here to add that I really hope that your friend's granddaughter's situation is of the variety of CBT, because that's favorable on all sides. She'd have a realm of resources available to her--PBS and all--and the rest of us could applaud her as she works to change her thinking. But I hope if it's of the neurological kind that's so misunderstood, that fingers don't point to her youth, and later as an adult that she couldn't get her mind right, to overcome a legitimate illness. Sometimes, it's not just changing the mind.

I apologize for my proselytizing, as this is too near to my professional and personal experiences. And to be a 12-year-old girl today is just too hard even for the hardiest of us.

This post was edited by peony4 on Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 1:26

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 1:16AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you peony for your thoughtful post. The gal has already been in counseling and her parents are being very proactive about this. They know she has been having trouble with her peers in school as she has told them some of the hurtful things even her 'friends' have said to her. So, while I'm sure they are keeping their eye on the larger picture, I know they will be doing what they can to alleviate her suffering.

I understand your concerns. It's all a matter of balance. My concern is on the other side of center...that some professionals/insurance companies give the fast and easy response of brain drugs with who knows what long-term side effects rather than take the time to help her develop the right tools, perceptions and philosophies about herself and others to be able to cope with a very tough environment.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:03AM
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So sad and tragic. I wish her and her family (and you) peace and love.

I was wondering how your transition from Homeshooling to PS was going Flyleft. We are thinking of HS our boys with the oldest starting in 1st grade.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:34AM
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She has my prayers. You're a wonderful friend to her Nana.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:14PM
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This is just heartbreaking. 12 years old ... so young, and yet the incredible "drama" that seems to so often come with the territory these days at that age can be so overwhelming. My niece turns 12 next month, and I know she deals with things that weren't even on my radar when I was a pre-teen.

Samantha is in my thoughts and prayers.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:25PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you so much for you kind words. They are most appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 1:10PM
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I will be saying prayers for Samantha and her parents tonight.

My 13-year old niece is here for the night. She battles the same pressures every day. It isn't always the outcasts who are attacked either..she's super smart, beautiful, athletic and confident. Those other girls just won't have it. If I could go shake them all silly I would, because you can see how hard it is for her. Luckily she has some boy friends and older girls at her gymnastics gym. And she's a warrior. Yesterday she got braces, so we're going to lay low tomorrow, eat ice cream and watch some empowering teen movies.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:20PM
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I am so sorry, Annie. Samantha is in my heart. I hope she feels us all surrounding her with our good wishes.

I am very fearful of suicide with my children. They threaten it, sometimes (when they are young)! This may sound like terrible advice, but I tell them that their problems will follow them everywhere, even when they die. That always makes them stop in their tracks.

I have a 12 y.o., too (she never threatens, BTW, or I'd be taking it very seriously), and I tell her that it really is harder during these years, esp. because of social media (which she does not use). Social media takes bullying to a new, horrifying level.

I also tell her that school is not the real world. She was homeschooled for several years, so that helps her see that. And, while I have no desire to homeschool again, I would in an instant if it were the only way to keep my child away from being bullied . . .even if it meant moving, selling the house, etc. At this stage, my daughter (entering 7th grade) has found a group of friends who shares her interests. The school is pretty diverse in many ways, so I think that helps a bit, too. They do workshops monthly in the school to foster positive social relationships as well. But, there could always be more done . . .it is "the" most important part of school.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 12:19AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thank you for your prayers and good wishes. Unfortunately, there's no easy fix for getting out of this...there's going to be a lot of work for everyone in the family to do, and I can only hope that they have the courage and the willingness to do the work.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 12:41AM
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Continuing to send energies...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 3:03AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks, flyleft!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 8:11AM
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Prayers and good thoughts are being sent for Samantha, family, and friends ...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 8:15AM
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I will add her to my prayer list, Annie. I'm terribly sorry for your friend, who must be out of her mind with worry.

Our sprinkler guy's seven year old daughter with a pretty serious learning disability tried to commit suicide by deliberately running out into the street in front of a car. The shock of something like that affected the family profoundly. Unfortunately the child's deficiencies were not being addressed in school, and she was teased and bullied unmercifully. Even more unfortunately, the high school drop out mom decided to home school the girl, practically ensuring that she will feel the misery of failure into adulthood.

I don't know what is wrong with schools that they cannot control the students / enforce a moral conduct code. Maybe bullies should be expelled and banished to a separate school just for them...they can find out how they like the The Lord of the Flies treatment when they are the victims!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 11:24AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks, aegis.

Kswl, that is horrible that a 7 year old would do such a thing. I always wonder though how many of the kids who are bullies at school are victims in their own homes...I mean they have to learn that behavior somewhere....and Lord knows the severe child abuse we hear about is rampant enough...but there's so much more emotional abuse going on that we never hear about...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 4:56PM
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kswl, just a question: why is it that you think that poor young girl you wrote about will feel the misery of failure into adulthood? Trying to get your thought process clear...thanks...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 6:32PM
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I'm sorry I wasn't clearer, fly left. The child has a serious LD and was being teased at school, and instead of changing schools, or doing something about the situation at that school, she was taken out of school entirely to be homeschooled by her mother who dropped out of high school at age 16. I have met the mother and she is no more qualified to teach any child, much less one with profound problems. (There were other issues with the mom as well, including multiple slip and fall lawsuits in stores, car accidents / suits, the woman spent a good bit of her time in lawyers' offices.) The child will not learn the educational strategies she needs; I wonder if she will ever even learn to read. How can the feelings of inadequacy that made her so miserable be mitigated when the cause is never addressed?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:13AM
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My thoughts and strength are with Samantha and the family. I have lost 2 brothers to suicide and have to live daily with the questions unanswered as to what I could have done is a heartbreaking time for all and the grief never ends. c

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:14AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks, TR. I too have suffered too many suicides in my family and hope that my GF and her family can be spared such pain.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 12:57PM
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Prayers for your friend's granddaughter and her family.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:34PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks, jgtbm. Much appreciated.

I feel fairly confident though that things will improve now as she was at a very good hospital with strong outpatient care. The fact that she survived means that she can now get the appropriate help that she needs as well as counseling for the entire family to change what needs to be changed.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 7:20AM
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I hope she gets the care she needs. It's very scary as a parent to hear these stories. Even if your kid isn't on the social media, the other kids are and "talking" behind her back and she knows something is going on. Schools need to stiffen the penalties for cyber-bullying as much as physical bullying - I don't know, maybe the state has to get involved, if it takes charging kids with a misdemeanor, or issuing restraining orders to prevent driving another kid to suicide then that's what it takes!

DS is 15, has always been a thoughtful, sensitive, private kid with a few close friends, not into the "popular" activities but seems to be happy, is definitely busy with Scouts, track, and church. I don't know what other kids may be saying about him, but at least he doesn't know either - or doesn't care. He is going to camp counselor training in a few weeks, and then to National Youth Leadership training for Scouts, hopefully next summer he will get a job at the Scout camp. OK, I'm bragging I guess but I think he's a good role model, and I *think* he's not at risk for depression.

DD is 5 years younger and starting puberty - she has 2 very close friends, and watching others coming up to her after school concert she seems to be "popular" but again doesn't have the same interests as many her age (she's also almost a year older than everyone else in her grade, both kids are Nov birthdays and we decided to start DD later than DS since he had been in daycare/preschool and was an early reader, she was a late talker/potty trainer). She's more sensitive to peer pressure - I suppose girls usually are?

I wouldn't pull her out to HS unless I thought there was a serious problem, I want to wait to see if she keeps/makes friends in middle school. I hope that keeping her in Scouts will help - if the leaders can keep a group of girls aware of the problems that bullying can cause, and keep them believing in their own value in spite of other people (peers, even some siblings and parents I know of) telling them otherwise. Girl Scouts just doesn't seem to be as organized as Boy Scouts though, and not too many girls seem to keep up with it through middle and high school, from what I can tell by the size of the troops in our town.

But "mean girls" start early - DD ran into one her first day of kindergarten. Add a mean teacher, and in 1st grade she was begging me to HS her! At least 2nd - 4th she has regained her love of school, is actually disappointed to have only a few days left this year.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 8:33AM
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Ajs, the school years can be a roller coaster of emotions. You have to try and keep the lines of communication open.
I remember going through the classroom list with my youngest,looking for girls she could approach as potential friends. In her case, she needed to be encouraged to do the reaching out.
Both my daughters were involved in scouts, with me being a leader for both. Scouting is certainly is not the cool thing in middle or high school. We kept the girls interested by meeting outside of school and making sure that they took charge and planned all their own events.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:44AM
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Praying for Samantha and her family. Thank God she survived and hopefully will get the help she needs. Suicide is such a horrific experience for any family to experience; we never recover fully, questioning what we could have missed or seen as a sign. God bless us all who have been through this, esp. Samantha at this time.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 5:49PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks, emerald isle.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 7:00PM
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As a mother of a 12 yo baby girl, my heart just breaks for the family. I pray that they find the strength to look forward to every new day as a second chance to make their daughter feel whole again. The innocence of youth is lost so early nowadays that it's truly heartbreaking. I'm sharing this story with my dd as a learning tool, a sad, sad learning tool. Prayers :)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Any news about Samantha?

I recently found out that someone I know as a distant acquaintance (she is in her early teens) tried to commit suicide. She was clinically dead and they were able to revive her. It turns out she was being molested by her father. :( The horrible thing is that (1) she told people of her plans and (2) she wasn't believed by her mother re: her plans OR what was happening with her dad.

She is a talented artist and gentle soul. It breaks my heart to think of what she went through and will face.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:44PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Oh, that is so sad. There's nothing worse than not being believed, esp by your mother who you look to to protect you from such things.

Samantha is home, which is good, and the family is already working on making significant changes in the environment, so the good news is they are definitely on it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:11AM
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Annie, yes, esp. since the mother is continually posting "happy" pics of them together on Fakebook. I have been lucky enough not to be abused in life, but from what I have read from others, the #1 thing that made a positive difference was being believed. The mother failed in that regard.

Thank goodness about Samantha. Hopefully this will be a positive change for all involved-- a scary but fruitful wakeup call.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:25AM
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