Author: Seomul Evans
The best people to help teenagers who are depressed are the parents, even though this is a very difficult task for them. Below are some tips which will help you to be able to recognize the symptoms of teenage depression and know what to do.
It is natural for teenagers to suffer from moods, but not when these start to affect their daily lives. Chronic anxiety is a different thing from moodiness. It is not normal to panic over small problems. Teenagers may not communicate well with parents at this stage and therefore don't tell them about their fears. This problem can lead to depression.
It is the parents who can help their teens through this time of change. It is better to support them through this than to cope with the pain of helping them recover their mental health.
Teenagers feel lots of pressure: parental pressure to do well at school, pressure of multiple activities, from school and so on. They also frequently don't perform up to their own or others' expectations and this leads to low self esteem.
Teenagers therefore need to be reassured that success takes time and practice, and it's OK to fall short of expectations, because it's all part of learning.
It will help to build up your teens' self esteem if you show them respect and appreciation. Allow them to develop at their own pace and don't place expectations on them which are too high. This includes family responsibilities.
Discuss relevant issues with your child, such as career choice, choices with regard to smoking, sex or drugs, friendship issues, peer pressure and so on. Clear boundaries are also important.
Ensure that you are available to discuss issues with your child even if you are tired. Do not intrude on their personal space, but be there if they need you. It is also important that you set good examples for your teens when it comes to matters such as dealing with stress and managing your own life. Allow your teen to feel free to discuss feelings with you, and listen patiently. Often all it takes to defeat depression is to have someone listen as you tell them about your emotions. As they talk be sure not to make fun of them or be aggressive towards them.
Teenagers suffering depression are often withdrawn, showing signs of sadness and shyness. Some, however, react to depression by displaying difficult behavior at school and at home, or their school grades or attendance may drop.
Other emotional signs of the depressed teen are showing hatred or anger towards their family. Sometimes they feel that nobody cares or understands, and this makes them want to withdraw from other people. It is important, therefore, that you show them that you are concerned and that you love them.
Self destructive behavior is also typical of depressed teenagers, who may talk about death and suicide. Parents need to take these signs seriously and seek help right away. Do not be afraid to discuss these notions of self harm with your child. Avoid sarcasm and criticism when you discuss issues with your teen, who may see these as signs of rejection.
Other symptoms of teenage depression include feeling worthless, difficulty becoming involved in fun activities, carelessness with regard to daily routine tasks, excessive worrying, difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
In order to treat the depression you need to know the cause. Watch what is happening and see what happens that could be the cause and which you can fix by yourself. Most causes of depression can be corrected within the family, before there is need for a psychiatrist.
The next step is psychotherapy or cognitive behavior therapy, and this can be quite daunting. Relaxation and meditation can also help. Teenagers may be happy confiding in a mentor or life coach. In severe cases anti-depressants may be necessary.
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