Who doesn’t experience teen depression as parents? Very frequently, parents face this problem. It is estimated that one in five teens will suffer from depression which is hazardous to health and can affect any time of teens’ lifecycle. However, it is treatable, fortunately, and parents can contribute in this regard. Most parents don’t know how to aid sad teenagers! Here are some practical ways for parents to deal with teen depressions.
Symptoms of Teen Depression
Teen depression is a very common issue. Generally, teens aged 5 to 17 are suffering from depression. But, sometimes, this problem is often disguised as normal “mood swings”. You can experience following one or more signs in your sad teens.
– unusual irritability
– angry outbursts
– fatigue, lack of energy, and lethargy
– aches, pains, or stomach issues
– less interest in their regular activities
– unwilling to spend time with friends and family members
– dropping grades or disinterest in school
– negative or critical self-talk
– talk about death, dying, or suicide
Common Causes of Teen Depression
Numerous factors can cause teen depression. Some of the most common factors are as below:
– Biochemical imbalances
– Genetic predisposition to depression
– Social exclusion
The teen years are the period when teens experience physical, emotional, mental, and social changes. The puberty of the girl teens can often be a leading issue of depressed moods and mood swings as well.
Practical ways to aid your unhappy teenager
Be empathetic to your depressed teens. Your empathy can relieve them immediately. Never forget they need your support always. Therefore, make sure you are friendly to your depressed teenage son or daughter. Try to understand them. Here are some effective ways to help a teenager to manage depression.
Choose a quiet time and private place to make a conversation with your teens. Ask them the reason for their mood swings. Get them to talk first so that you can get a clearer picture of what is going on. Sometimes, they won’t be open at first when you ask, but don’t give up. keep asking. Do not pressure them seriously; rather, you can talk positively with them. Make them understand that they will feel easy when sharing with others.
Be ready to listen
Be an active listener. Assure them that you have full attention to listen to them. Do not interrupt when they are talking. Let them finish the sentence and share in their own time. Focus on their words, difficulties, and feelings. If you do not understand anyway what they want to say, take more time to have clarification.
Help them get support
When you feel your compassion and guidance are not enough for your child, you can take professional support. A favorite teacher, school counselor, or family pediatrician can help them get more comfortable with the plan. You can look for online or offline helping organizations in your city and locality.
Cut them some slack
Inspire your teen to be more active and get involved in household chores so that they can keep their minds engaged and forget their depression. On the contrary, if their depression happens because of an extra load like an assignment, homework, or something like that, let them be free for some time. You can also help them to prepare their homework, assignments to reduce their workload.
Make changes as a family
Lifestyle changes can decrease depression. These changes might include:
– more physical activity
– regular nutritious meals
– plenty of sunshine
– dedicated bedtimes
– a nightly wind-down routine
– a family walk after dinner
– device-free one hour before bed
– playing a board game with family members
– working on a puzzle
– listening to an audiobook
These kinds of activities can contribute to reducing depression in your teens.
Encourage supportive relationships
It is necessary to maintain true friendships to feel socially connected even when they are struggling. Allow them to hang out some time with best friends. Moreover, encourage them to try a new activity or hobby, like guitar lessons, art classes, or a sport Volunteering. What is more, some activities of kindness like making small donations to needy people; taking care of young children or elderly people at home can also ease feelings of depression.
Things to avoid
Criticism and punishment
Avoid punishing your teen about normal issues like failing in the exams, incomplete homework, and chatting with friends. If you minimize TV time, take away their phone as punishment, they might feel unhappier. So, instead of doing so, as an alternative to screen time, you might suggest that they can invite a friend to study, play games, or get outside together. Whatever the matter is, make sure you love and support them.
Judging self-harming behaviors
If you feel your teen is doing self-harming behaviors, never ignore these issues. Your first instinct may be to search their room and keep away self-harm tools. Secondly, you can check their body or keep them in your sight at all times. But remember, you need to have a compassionate, judgment-free response; otherwise your teen might feel judged and helpless. Thus, they might get dragged into further depression. Let them know you love them whatever happens.
Taking things personally
If your teen does not like to share anything with you, do not lose patience. Try to be friendly with them. Your friendly behavior helps them feel comfortable opening up. Tell them that you are ready whenever they feel ready to talk and give them space to share in their own time.
When it’s time for immediate help
You can get professional support surely if you notice any of the following symptoms and signs in your child:
-writing stories or poems about dying
-talking of dying or wanting a remedy of pain.
-becoming more withdrawn from others
-giving away personal possessions
Do not leave them alone while they are in crisis, and make sure they do not have access to any medications or weapons.
You know your kids more than anyone in the world; so you are supposed to know when something is wrong. Do not express dissatisfaction when your teenager child are depressed or look unhappy or sad. Take time and try to divert their anxious souls to something they love and like to do. After all, make them realize that you are in their favor and will do whatever it takes to support them. Make sure they love your company and like to share everything they face with you. Remember, your commitment can make a difference.
Source: United News of Bangladesh