Middle school kids in crisis? Yes, it can happen

Over the past few years, I’ve heard of a few cases of 7th and 8th graders, in our suburbs, committing suicide. The most recent case was of an 8th grade girl, down in the San Ramon Valley. To her family and friends, she was a happy, bright girl, and a successful student, involved in various school activities. But she hung herself, and her parents were left with putting back the pieces of their daughter’s history, to try and discover the signs they missed.

When I was in middle school, I still felt very much like a kid, which included not having strong feelings of anxiety or depression. And it was beyond me to think of doing risky things–using alcohol, drugs, having sex–that it seemed older kids were doing. But later, I learned that people my age were doing these things in middle school. 

They say that kids are growing up a lot sooner now. Maybe so. But there are kids now, and back when I was growing up, who were dealing with very serious issues. We probably didn’t know it then. Maybe we’re more aware now.  I’m not so sure. Already, at Walnut Creek Intermediate, there have been several incidents of students being caught on campus with knives, alcohol, and pot.

Anyway, if you’re the parent of a middle schooler, it might serve you well to attend a lunchtime talk Thursday at Walnut Creek Intermediate: “Kids in Crisis.” It is given by Walnut Creek Intermediate’s crisis counselor, who will help make parents aware of “red flags,” those signals that kids give out that something very wrong is going on in their lives.  Here’s the notice.

Kids in Crisis: What to Look For and What to Do

by Sara Hamilton Dietzel, MA

Thursday, January 21, 2010; Noon-1:30 p.m.; Library, Walnut Creek Intermediate School, 2425 Walnut Blvd., Walnut Creek

Middle school presents itself with many new challenges for children and their parents. Come and explore the many experiences of the middle school years and beyond. Sara Hamilton Dietzel, WCI’s Crisis Counselor, will discuss what to look for or notice about your children’s behavior so you can be aware if your son or daughter is struggling. Issues such as substance use, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and bullying will be addressed. Ideas of what to do and how to manage these signs of concern will be presented.

Bring your lunch and join us in the library for an informative time! Please RSVP (no fee) to WCIPTAparentedu@comcast.net.

Also, these talks, hosted by the Acalanes Union High School District’s Parent Education program and Walnut Creek Intermediate’s PTA, are open to everyone in the community, not just people who have kids at this school or any of the schools in these districts.

3 thoughts on “Middle school kids in crisis? Yes, it can happen

  1. Lots of pressure on kids these days. Some can take it, and some can't. Parents need to know their kids. Have them achieve for themselves and not for you.


  2. Here are some ideas…how about sitting down and eating dinner with your kids every night? We do it. Sometimes it is difficult with schedules but you can make it work. At dinner and aftwards we spend time talking. We also do things with our kids — baseball games, museums, walking the dog, bike rides, etc… Also, go to church, synagogue, or whatever together as family. Teenagers need a foundation. My kids are teens (one high school, one middle) and they are doing great.

    I know one thing, I sure wouldn't get my advice from a “crisis counselor” on this.


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