Do You Have A Depressed Teen? Here's How You Can Help
Depression in teens may stem from anything; it could be an academic failure or even due to social rejections.
Depression is that devil which does not spare even the teens
- Depression in teens may stem from anything
- Depression is not due to one reason
- In teenage depression, sad phases will last for a period of 2 weeks
Depression is that devil which does not spare even the teens. That period in your life when you hit puberty is when you go through a number of changes, both physical and emotional. During this period teens have a hard time anyway, and to add to that, external pressures make things worse for them. With so much going on, poor teens fail to understand what is going wrong and where exactly can they can fit in. And betwixt all this mess, some of them land in depression.
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Depression in teens may stem from anything; it could be an academic failure or even due to social rejections. However, some parents may confuse it with puberty mood swings. Parents must remember one thing; teenage depression is very far from moodiness. You may feel that it is normal because of puberty but that may not be true. This ignorance is exactly where you end up pushing your kids into the darkest emotional phases in life.
Fortunately, teenage depression is treatable. Psychologist Dr. Deepali Batra says, "First of all, it is important to find out if the child is dealing with depression or not. Sometimes it is just a state of mind and is confused with depression. Now people have starting hearing so much about depression that they confuse it with any normal state of boredom or moodiness. There are certain symptoms and some criteria which should be met in order to say that yes the teen is in depression."
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Dr Batra lays the symptoms and criteria for diagnosing teenage depression. She says, "Teens go through a number of phases during this age. They could be going through a breakup, academic failures or peer conflict. So these can be small momentary phases of a day or two. The teen may feel low or depressed and may have cry spells during this period. If the teen is suffering from proper diagnosable teenage depression, these phases will last for a period of two weeks. Depression is not due to one reason. There are many events and many reasons which contribute to this condition. Besides this, it could also be genetic."
Some helpful tips for parents to help kids get over teenage depression
Dr Batra gives a set of helpful tips for parents to help their kids get through with this phase.
1. Parents must maintain indirect supervision on their kids. This is important because a teen with diagnosable depression may engage in self-harm.
3. There should be complete absence of the blame-game. If as a parent, you put the blame on your kids for everything, there is a good chance that your child may withdraw and not share any more details of their problems with you.
4. Try to engage your child into some activities. Go out for a walk with them, play with them, and spend more time with them. Help them come out of that phase.
5. Give your kids more time instead of questioning them why they are not coming out and spending time with you.
6. There comes a point where you may have to seek professional help. If you see your teen engaging in self harm or if you find him/her staying up all night, take them to a professional. If you see that your child is always in some form of fear, then obviously your child needs help. Whatever the outcome is, you must then work accordingly to help your kid out of depression.
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7. Be as supportive as you can. Instead of losing your patience with them, tell them that you understand and you are there for them. Tell your kids that they are not alone.
8. Understand that your kid may have an emotional problem and is not affected by a mental health disorder.
9. Know where exactly you need to step in and talk to friends and teachers. Sometimes, hasty involvement may make your kids uncomfortable and they may step away from you.
10. Help them choose their friends wisely. Friends play a very important role in the child's life. And if you feel it is right, then talk to that friend and try to reach the root cause of the problem.
Also read: How can I manage my son’s behaviour?
(Dr Deepali Batra is a Senior Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Max Hospital)
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