teen depression

The Difference Parents Can Make In Their Teen’s Depression

The Difference You Can Make In Your Teen's DepressionIn 2016, suicide moved up the list from third to second leading cause of death in teenagers. Think about that for a second…teenagers are killing themselves more than ever and it is terrifying as a parent to realize that we have children in this age range.

Teen depression is a serious problem. In a world that seems programmed to make them doubt themselves, just developing a healthy self image seems like an insurmountable undertaking. Add in other factors like divorce, a difficult co-parent or trauma and the list of potential triggers for serious teenage depression becomes longer and longer.

What Should I Do If I Suspect My Teen Is Depressed?

Changes in appetite, increased or decreased sleep, apathy, sudden bouts of crying, isolation, signs of self harm….these are all signals of depression in a teenager. If you have noticed any of them, or a combination of these or other symptoms, you probably feel very anxious.

But studies have shown that your are a lifeline for your teen and your support is critical in their health and success. Here are some ways you can make a difference in your teen’s depression.

  • Listen To Them Speak Honestly – One of the hardest thing to do is speak openly and honestly to someone about how you’re feeling. With a child, they have to worry about changing the way you look at them. Show your teen that they can be open and speak without being judged.
  • Don’t Punish Them For Their Feelings – Feelings are impossible to just ignore and yet we will so often push them away out of fear of the consequences. Your teen could be afraid to share their feelings because you may punish them for what they express. Make it clear you would never do that.
  • Recognize That It Isn’t Up To You To “Fix” Them – You are a parent and you probably see it as your job to fix things for your kids. But their emotions and mental health belong to your teen. Don’t make them feel pressure to lie and say they are fine so you can feel like you are fixing their issues.
  • Get Them Involved In External Activities – Isolation is a common symptom of depression and also one that can make the depression worse. Try to get your teen involved in activities they once enjoyed, even if they push back at first. Sometimes you have to force them to interact with others, for their own mental health.

Seek Professional Help

All of the above tips won’t stop the depression, they will only support your child. Professional help may be necessary, especially if other conditions exist. Don’t be afraid to turn to a therapist or doctor.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn