It’s easy to think that you’re failing your children at the first sign of negative behavior. As a parent, your first instinct is to protect your child from any sort of harm but you’re quick to blame yourself when you realize that your child is suffering from depression or anxiety. Neurologists at the German Neuroscience Center in Dubai offer support groups for those suffering from depression or anxiety and help parents realize that there’s more to their child having depression than just being sad.
Depression in teenagers is a serious mental health problem that can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness and/or a loss of interest in activities that teenagers otherwise enjoy. Depression affects the way teenagers think, feel and behave and can cause emotional and physical problems.
Society can play a huge role in how a teenager feels about themselves. Peer and academic pressure can both take a toll on teenagers and cause them to slump into a depression if they feel as though they are not living up to society’s standards. Puberty is also a contributing factor as changing bodies can impact a teenager’s self-esteem to levels beyond their control.
Depression isn’t a sign of weakness. It cannot be overcome by willpower. It may have serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. For many teens, they will find that they can control their depression through medication or psychological counseling.
If your teen has decided to open up about what they’re going through, this means they trust you. They trust that you will support them during this difficult time and will be reassured that you still love them no matter what.
Here are some signs that you’re doing a good job parenting a teenager who is depressed.
1 – Your teenager opens up to you
There isn’t always a specific factor that will cause depression. Genetics and even the structure of the brain can be major contributors to one’s depression. But if your child has something causing the ill-feelings and they come to you to discuss it, this means that they trust you enough to be vulnerable. They trust that you will not react negatively to what they’re going through and that you will offer them a helping hand. It’s hard for children to open up about their struggles, especially to their parents.
This proves that you have provided a safe space that your teen feels comfortable enough to go to even in their darkest times.
2 – They aren’t afraid of you
In many cultures, depression is a taboo topic; often a social stigma. If you’re depressed, society thinks that there’s something wrong with you. This, unfortunately, can also impact parents’ views on depression. If your child isn’t afraid of your reaction to their depression, that means that you’ve communicated that you have an open mind and that you will provide a no-judgment zone for them. The last thing that teenagers want to experience is judgement from their own parents so it’s vital that you show them that you will support them no matter what.
3 – They ask you for help
No matter how old we are, we always struggle to ask for help. We think it makes us weak so we refrain from seeking help from others. Teenagers who ask their parents for help are acknowledging that they need help and they trust that you can be the one to give it to them. Teenagers could easily pick their closest friends to talk to, or even strangers online if they just want to vent, but if they choose to come to you specifically, they’re showing that they trust you 100% and want you to be the ones to help them on their journey to recovery.
4 – When you acknowledge their feelings as valid
Good parents won’t try to talk their children out of being low or depressed. If you are accepting their feelings as valid, you are on the right parenting track. It’s important to remember that the feelings that stem from depression, while they may seem irrational to you, cause emotional distress to your child. By showing them that you are taking their emotions seriously, you are showing them that you care and you want to help them get better. You’re supporting them emotionally and helping them feel understood.
5 – When you listen, rather than provide solutions
Teenagers don’t want you to tell them how to stop being depressed. They want you to listen to what they’re going through with an open mind and heart. If you’re able to listen to your children without providing solutions or tips that you think would help them, you are being a good listener and a good friend to them. Sometimes we all just want to vent and get things off our chest and allowing a teenager to do so will make you more approachable.
Guest Author Bio
Dr. Harry Horgan
Dr. Harry from German Neuroscience Center Dubai is a UK-trained Clinical Psychologist, originally from Ireland. He has professional registration in the United Kingdom (HCPC) and in Dubai (DHCC). He completed his master’s degree in Health Psychology with the University of Ulster and completed his doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. He has almost a decade of experience working across a diverse range of mental health and other specialist psychology services in Ireland and the U.K.