Category Archives: Depression and Mental Health

The adolescent and teenage development years of your child are one of the most challenging years for a parent. This is because many changes are going on in their bodies and minds, and keeping up with their emotional ups and downs can be quite a task. These ups and downs may confuse you as the parent since you may be unable to differentiate between something that is normal moodiness and depression. With the rising cases of depression in teenagers, parents need to talk to their kids about depression and mental health. Having this conversation with your teen will help them be more open to talking to you in case they are depressed. So, how do you, as a parent, talk to your kids about depression, in a loving way? Read on to find out.

One of the things that you should do is to educate yourself about mental health and depression. Get to know what it is about, what causes teenagers to get depressed, and how to help your child in case they are suffering from it. Also, you should get to know the risk factors and the warning signs to look out for, such as changes in appetite, sadness, suicidal thoughts, isolation and difficulty in school, among many others. When you have this information, you will be better placed to talk to them about it.

Once you have all the information you need on depression, you can then start the conversation. You can start by telling them what you have observed in their behaviors, such as isolation from friends or a drop in their grades. Ask them the reason for the behavior change and allow them to talk to you. Let them know that you are there for them no matter the issue, and you will love them through it all.

Be open with your teen; for them to be comfortable about opening up, they should feel that they can tell you anything. Do not be judgemental; be there to listen and give them space to express themselves. Do not be invasive or intrusive, as it will push them away. Be an active listener, and validate their feelings and experiences; do not make them feel ashamed for talking about their feelings, no matter how small they may seem.

The other thing that you will need to do is to normalize their feelings. If you have been a victim of depression yourself or know people who have had it, it is essential to speak about it and share the experience with your teen. They will feel normal and will be more comfortable once they learn that other people suffer from it too. They will feel less alone, and it will lighten the burden that they are carrying. Remember that this is not easy on them, therefore do not try to talk them out of depression, as it will not work.

You should also ask them clarifying questions to get more perspective on how they are affected. Ask them how many times in the week they feel sad, or isolate themselves from people. Get also to know what causes it, and why they think it happens. By having all this information, you will be better placed to help them.

Once they have talked to you and shared how they feel, it is advised to speak to them about treatment as an option to help them with depression. Encourage them to get help and remind them that it is something that they should not be ashamed of.

Dealing with your child’s depression can be hard for any parent. However, with the above points, you will be able to talk to them and possibly come to a solution together. Avoid minimizing their depression or blaming them for it as it will not help the situation.