Hands Off, Inc

"We are a community made up of people determine to intercede for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children and young women, through training, raising awareness, and safe dwelling. "

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What’s Killing Your Teenager?


October is National Bullying Awareness month so what better time to address the deadly effects of it. I felt the need and importance to write this piece on Teen Suicide in the desire to help and bring awareness to this critical crisis facing our young people. First we need to identify Adolescent Suicide for what is…which is trying to fix a temporary problem with a permanent solution!

4 American teenagers per day between the ages of 13-19 commit suicide daily, alarming…yes! Can we change these numbers? yes. Many teenagers commit suicide on impulse for reasons such as a relationship ends, low self-esteem, peer pressure but the number one cause is “BULLYING.”

Bullying is not only physical but physiological torment as well, those are the scars that cut the deepest and are not always visible. When teens make the decision to commit suicide they are not thinking about the loved ones left behind, they are not in a rational state of mind, they are just trying to find away to end the pain at that moment. Parents may view a breakup or bullying as a passing event “kids will be kids it will make them stronger, I went through that too etc..etc..blah, blah” Guess what parents they don’t think like you, nor do they react like you. They have their own identity, feelings, emotions, impulses, and the tolerance level is not the same.

When your young person comes to you for help, never diminish their feelings with a pat on the back. Take everything your youngsters says seriously, especially when they are brave enough to open up to you. Please remember you are what they identify as safe, a place of refuge where they can cry without judgement. The world around them is already tearing them down, it is your job to build them up.

Teenagers are secretive and do hide a lot but as a parent/care taker the signs are the same!!! Unhealthy relationships are also controlling relationships/friendships “hey if you don’t go to the party I’m telling everyone that you did….” or if they are dating, are they constantly texting and having to answer their whereabouts to a boyfriend or girlfriend? ?are they being manipulated? “Stacey is not answering my calls.” The “silent treatment” is a power move used to gain control and manipulate. Teens become even more secretive when they are struggling with something, they lose their appetite “no I’m going to skip dinner, I’m going to bed instead I’m tired.” The start skipping classes and missing school “mom I’m not feeling well enough to go to school today.” ( See I’m an old school mom, so I will show up to the school and check things out)…

Parent’s you must speak with your teens daily. They may be reluctant but meet them in their own elements, go to the movies, take a trip together, do something they want to do and just start “HEARING” them. The signs are there but we take for granted we know what they are capable of, and that is furthest from the truth!!!!

Children who are abused abuse others, the cycle continues because the “BULLIER” is also hurting but does not know how to deal with it. They transfer that abuse because it makes them feel better, no longer alone. Aggression is a very visible sign that something is going on deeper below the surface. The “BULLIER” is not only aggressive but, manipulative, they flock to friendships weaker than themselves because they feel more in control, they are also very critical of others “look at this guy he is so stupid haha.” Many resources are available today from school counselors to youth organizations all in the business of helping young people gain a healthy control of their lives and environment.

Harbor House of Central Florida has an excellent program called Project Courage which engages youth in the communities from Pre-k to 12 grade students receive consistent messaging about healthy relationships and positive interaction for more info contact  www.harborhousefl.com.

Talk… Listen…. Love

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Dangerous Words!!!


I remember growing up how family and friends were quick to label me. The fact that they couldn’t easily understand me, in their mind it was a ticket to define what their limited perception allowed. I grew up thinking of myself in a way that I shouldn’t those voices that name called echoed in silent places. The voices that tried to stop me from my destiny rang loud every time I tried to take a step forward, but they pulled me back.

Parents we must bridle our tongue when we are angered with our young people. WE must be careful not to call them “stupid, silly, loose, shy, fat, ridiculous and much more. The name we call them are seeds, they are seeds that take root over the years. They will hear your voice no matter how many “I’m sorry” you sing. Words are powerful that’s why God says life and death are in the power of our tongues. Mom and dad you have the power to speak life and blessings over your youth. Of course they will do the dumbest things on earth and they will make some absolutely horrendous decisions, but we have to be patient.

Be careful!!!  one wrong word of hurt or your disappointment in them, can push them to a place you won’t be able to save them from. They maybe going through so much more than they can speak, they are probably making poor choices because of peer pressure. The worst thing you can do is push them away by the things you say. Tough love means making hard decisions which is the betterment for their future, not speaking to them in a degrading or insulting manner.

When you feel your temperature rising,  your blood is boiling and that one nerve you had left jumps off the cliff… breathe…. Inhale and exhale. Calm down get your words together and don’t allow your anger or disappointment to lead you in throwing up words you can’t eat.

“Don’t give them a label that doesn’t belong to them”