In recent years, we have started to learn more about depression and how it affects different people. Slowly but surely, the stigma related to the mental health condition is being removed but there is still a lack of information available; this is especially true for parents of teenagers.
It's no wonder rates of depression and suicide have risen within the U.S. among adolescence. Teenagers are under massive amounts of pressure with the boom of technology and "connectivity", adolescence are bombarded with challenges that other generations have not had to navigate. Often times left alone with themselves and friends to figure out what to do, say, think, and even feel about life. For this reason, I have compiled five key signs that every parent should know to see when it is a good time to get them into counseling or support.
First and foremost, this is the most common problem facing adolescents in today’s world. Along with depression and anxiety, bad behavior and acting out are all huge problems and it requires attention from parents. Of course, there are some behaviors that provide no concern but parents need to be able to differentiate between poor behavior and a serious problem. With the latter, management is important in order to work towards a resolution.
When going through adolescence, it is a time where the social norms are being challenged and they can start to move away from parents emotionally. As they progress from childhood, they see changes with their body as well as the mind. Suddenly, the world is huge and they need to find their place; this is a vital time in anyone’s life. As a parent, you need to remember that, even though they challenge authority, they actually need authority in order to survive because they are struggling to become independent after being dependent for so long.
If we have discovered anything over the last few decades, it’s that we are all unique. Whilst some kids prefer to externalize their thoughts and act out, others prefer to stay quiet so you need to look out for both. If adolescents can’t express their feelings, you (and teachers) might think they are just quiet in nature but what if they are bottling it all up? When these types of young people get depressed, it is a huge problem and can lead to serious mental illness in future years. To prevent this, intervention is needed early on.
Leading on from the previous point, let’s talk about the illness itself because it is incredibly difficult to diagnose since the symptoms are so different and varied. As we have said, some act out while others close the shutters and withdraw themselves from social situations. In terms of the latter, they might also lose contact with friends, reject invitations to go out, lose interest in things they previously loved, and perhaps even harm themselves in more severe cases.
In truth, there can be a thousand different explanations for depression but it is important to note that parents and family members can contribute unknowingly and unwillingly. For example, this is especially true in cases of divorce or adoption because they lose the feeling of belonging and blame themselves which makes them sad and angry.
When this happens, as parents, we also blame ourselves because we can’t help but you mustn't take this as a personal insult. Sometimes, we are just too close which means that they aren't willing to talk. In these situations, it is absolutely fine to call in a professional who is trained to deal with depression in young children and adolescents. If your child was being sick constantly, you would take them to the doctor and this is no different.
As long as you keep these five tips in mind, depression doesn’t need to be the end of the world for them or for you. Instead of letting them enter a long life of suffering, pay attention to this advice and you can help even if it isn't directly!