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[personal profile] mituns
When 10-year-old Ashlynn Connor killed herself just over a year ago, the immediate reaction was that it must have been bullying that caused it.

However, according to the final investigative report, bullying wasn't a major factor in Ashlynn's death. Instead this was a girl who was living in a home with adults who weren't themselves completely stable, no father around, and six siblings who, among them, have three different last names, none of which was the same as Ashlynn's.

Although Ashlynn may have had difficulties with people, and had asked to be homeschooled, in third grade already, she had told a boy that she considered to be her boyfriend, that if he would ever break up with her, she'd kill herself. Not only is this a sign of somebody who is controlling, but it is also an indication of someone who has serious issues.

In these articles, we find out too, that Ashlynn's mother had attempted suicide twice, and with the second time, her children found her and had to get her help. Upon hearing that Ashlynn was dead, her grandmother had to be restrained to keep her from slitting her wrists.

I'm sure that it is true that mental illness does run in families, but I have to wonder what percentage of that is due to the mental illness actually being passed down, and how much is due to the children of mentally ill people being stuck in a home full of madness and picking up many of those bad habits in large part because they don't know any better. I cannot imagine that in Ashlynn's short life that there was any way that she could have learned to handle her emotions and dealings with people in any sort of constructive way. Her mother said that she had complained about people being mean to her, but with a child that is so developmentally comprimised emotionally, it seems as though she had a very hard time dealing with the normal ups and downs of what is life.

However, I hardly think that Ashlynn's case is unique, although her story is more "spectacular" than most. In the last 30 years or so, there has been a shift in society, from where parents expected children to learn to live with and overcome personal adversity, to a point where all roads need to be cleared in order to protect a child's "self-esteem". Of course, children do need support and guidance in learning how to deal with the outside world, but by not allowing them to learn how to do a little fending for themselves, even when they are little, they never learn how to do it, and we are left with what we have today, which is an untold number of adults who have grown up, but remain emotional children.
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September 2013

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