Children are heavily influenced by their surroundings. When we lavish them with positivity, they often grow up with a positive mindset and a can-do attitude. However, if we subject them to certain difficulties, they can be a lot more hardened as they approach their teenage years. The trials and challenges children face during their teenage years can often define who they are once they bloom into a young adults.
While our formative years are usually between the ages of 0 and 8, children start to develop complex emotions and feelings when they start entering high school. This is made even more difficult for certain children when they’re exposed to the internet and vastly different opinions and takes on life. When your child mingles with different cultures and personalities in school, it can trigger a lot of realizations and changes that ultimately change the way they think.
As such, a common occurrence in young teenagers is depression. This isn’t just a feeling of sadness that occurs now and then, but a recurring emotion that can make them feel hopeless and helpless. To help your child break out of these feelings, it’s important to take a delicate approach so you don’t agitate them further.
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Understanding the signs and symptoms of teenage depression
It’s hard to explain what depression feels like as it differs from person to person. However, there are a couple of common signs that you should look out for:
- Unable to enjoy things as they used to.
- Feeling worthless or guilty for things they can’t directly affect.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Abusing drugs or alcohol to help with their feelings.
- Frequent crying.
- Mood swings.
- Constantly irritable or frustrated.
- Losing or gaining a lot of weight.
- Having trouble concentrating in school.
- Falling grades and difficulty at school.
- Feeling hopeless and/or helpless.
If you notice these signs in your children then you may want to speak to them first. You could consult depression treatment centers for teenagers if they’ve harmed themselves or have turned to alcohol or drugs to help with their feelings. However, if they’re only occasionally showing these symptoms, you may still be able to speak with them and encourage them to break out of those negative feelings.
How to approach your child if you think they’re depressed
It’s extremely important that you take your child seriously when they’re feeling depressed. You want to give them space to deal with their problems and listen to everything they say. They may give clues on why they’re feeling depressed and how you could help them. If they’re not willing to speak to you, then you may find it easier to encourage them to speak to a friend or family member. Whatever you do, don’t brush aside their feelings and chalk it up to a “phase”.
While there are many ways to improve your child’s mental health, it’s important to understand that there’s no easy fix that can be applied to all children. Every child deals with depression in a different way. You also shouldn’t blame yourself if your child feels depressed. While there is certainly a parenting factor, it’s also heavily dependent on their environment and school conditions too.
This is a collaborative post.