As a parent, there are many moments you wonder about your teenage children. They come off as a sort of mystery. You just don’t seem to get them. Depending on how much you pick up on, you could find out your child is depressed. This still doesn’t offer any clarity because you don’t understand your kid, so you don’t even know how to go about the whole depression thing.
Why would my child be depressed anyway?
Yes, this question must have come to your mind tons of times. You don’t get why a teen who is loved and cared for will still suffer from depression.
But here’s the thing. Questions like this would only aggravate the situation because depression is linked heavily to feelings of loneliness. A loneliness that is brought about, in part, by not being heard. Confrontational statements like this will most likely cause the child to refrain further from communicating with you. Your approach must be non-confrontational and empathetic.
But to effectively handle this problem, it is essential to know what depression is.
What is depression?
Depression is classified as a mental disorder. It isn’t something a person can just snap out of. It comes along with feelings of sadness or anxiety for extended periods. Its prevalence amongst the teens in this day and age is greater than before. You could link this rise to many factors including:
- Loneliness: The advent of social media hasn’t done much to counteract loneliness. While it links teenagers and young people, it evidently reduces the amount of time they spend together in real life. They’re meeting people but not meeting people.
Screen time doesn’t make up for the lack of real-time social interaction, and these triggers feelings of loneliness. There’s also the sense of belonging that a teen gets from making posts on social media. The fewer likes or engagements their posts get, the more likely they are to feel lonely or feel like they don’t have enough friends.
- Esteem Issues: Depression is also linked to low self-esteem. Puberty is a major highlight of the teenage years. The body undergoes several changes, primarily sexual. These changes can lead to the development of various insecurities regarding appearance and behavior.
During this period between infancy and full maturity, teens may find it difficult to adjust socially because they may not like how they look or sound. Late bloomers are usually the most affected during this period.
Symptoms of depression may include insomnia or oversleeping, eating disorders (eating less or more), long periods of sadness or brooding, regular complaints of boredom or being tired of life, overt expressions of irritation or anger, withdrawal from friends and family, and so on.
If you’re noticing one or more of these symptoms in your child’s life, don’t ignore it. It can be tough handling this sort of thing but as always, there are guaranteed ways to handle it.
- Dealing with the social aspects of depression is very essential. Your child probably feels alone and dejected.
Getting yourself and your children involved in group activities can do a lot for their mental well-being. Organizing group activities involving people they already love and care about would be the right way to go about it. Don’t go over the top by having a big, family cookout or something outrageous. A simple dinner or picnic with your immediate family and their closest friends will do just fine.
- Encouraging your child to engage in physical activity could be helpful, whether it is a sport or just a 5 to 10-minute walk. You could also encourage them to learn a new skill. Occupying their minds would help reduce the incidence of depressive thoughts and/behavior.
- Get your child to make healthier food choices, especially if their depression has dramatically affected their eating habits. A healthier body, in many ways, makes for a healthier mind.
In every case above, you must take the lead, willing your child, slowly but surely, to be more open about how they feel. If you’re a Christian, it would help if you also considered looking at Christian parenting blogs for more insight on handling these situations. Overcoming depression takes time. There would be ups and downs during the process but constant vigilance, encouragement and support would help your child recover adequately.