Talk to Your Teen About Amy
There are several articles circulating about the heartbreaking death of Amy Joyner, a Delaware high school student. She was involved in a fight inside the girls’ bathroom and fell, hitting her head against the sink. This injury took her life. Videos taken from cell phones may surface, and ‘He Said, She Said’ stories will fill the halls of the school. According to friends, Amy did not believe in fighting and often intervened in situations about to become physical to halt them before they escalated. But in the end, a group of students are to blame for taking a life far too soon. Alexxis, a student from Amy’s school, says, “For an innocent girl to lose her life to the senseless act of others is unacceptable. For people to beat a person to death is just not normal and the amount of disrespect is absolutely disgusting.” The tears are still falling, and Amy’s death is still fresh, but soon Howard High School of Technology will return to normal. This is what truly breaks my heart. Death is a situation that everyone handles differently, and there are counselors available to talk with students who need help with their emotions. But that is not enough. It is not enough to mourn Amy’s death and move on. It is not enough to push this aside and continue with life. Amy’s tragic death can open the door for change, and for communication. Amy is not the first young person to die undeservingly. She’s not the first to pass away from injuries received in a school fight. She’s not the first, and she will not be the last. BUT, her death should not be in vain. Parents, this is a huge opportunity to guide the next generation. As parents, we are blessed with the ability to create life and then mold that life through example, experience, and love. Our babies will always be babies to us, but the truth is that, as teenagers, they are smarter and more capable than we give them credit for. While the foundation has already been laid, there is still time to make huge impacts on the way they view the world. Violence will continue in schools, on the streets, and in homes for as long as it is accepted. Stories like Amy’s have become more frequent throughout our generation, and will continue to become daily news’ stories with this generation. The truth is that the majority of ‘our children’ are not growing into better young adults than we were – they do not understand cause and effect, actions, reactions, and consequences. The few that do – the peace makers and world changers – too often seem to be the ones bullied, hurt, and taken too early. Parents, we can change this. Implementing Change: As adults, we are busy. Probably too busy. That’s not changing any time soon. But we have many young eyes on us. Perfection is joke. It’s unattainable. We will continually make mistakes, but it’s how we recover – that is the teachable moment. Apologize to your children: Violence is a learned trait. If we have ever hit, threaten, or place fear into our teenagers or children, we must APOLOGIZE. Doing this is what teaches that violence is an acceptable way to handle situations and emotions. When we overreact, we should apologize. No one is perfect. You will lose your cool, and so will your teen. Your gut reaction will be to grab, hit, belittle, threaten – but so will theirs. Do you see the pattern? How can we expect teenagers to handle situations without fighting if we have instilled this in them? We cannot. But we can do better. Keep communication open: When you are upset and angry, TALK ABOUT IT. Yelling, slamming doors, and walking away will all happen. Once you are able to talk, do it. This falls under all aspects of parenting… happy moments, relationships, daily struggles, accomplishments, goals, handling heartache, death, etc. It is hard not to lecture, and harder not to step into the ‘friends zone.’ Finding the right balance will be a struggle for all of us. Ask your teen for help: We have no idea what we are doing half the time as parents. We should probably reach out to these beings that we created and ask them what they need, want, and feel. Then we should follow through. We are heartbroken over Amy’s death, as it hits so close to home. This is our neighborhood, and our friends' families experiencing this loss. Whether you knew Amy, were a part of her community, or have a teenager or child of your own, this story hits home. Take the time to talk about Amy today, and keep her in your mind often. "I hope Amy rests in peace." - Alexxis. "We Stand By Howard" - MOT Charter School
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