Supporting Your Teenage Son Through His Depression
Depression is a horrifying condition. You can watch the most cheerful, outgoing person retreat into themselves. Your child might lose interest in their friends, their family and the things they once loved. Not to mention the threat of suicide, which is the second leading cause of death among teens.
Common Signs of Depression In Teens
Sudden lack of interest in former hobbies
Defeating language or attitude
Bouts of irrational anger
Change in appetite
Increased or decreased sleep
Complaints of frequent stomach pains
Signs of self harm
These are some of the red flags that your teen may be suffering from serious depression. While therapy and possibly a medication could help, there are some cases that are much more severe. When those arise, it is important to know where to turn for help.
What To Do If Your Teen Is Depressed?
Therapeutic boarding schools are one option, as are residential treatment centers. Many programs exist for more intensive outpatient help. For those who have multiple sources of their issues, such as mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders, ect, these can be better options than the usual therapeutic route.
Ultimately, the greatest tool at your teen’s disposal is you, their parent. You can offer your child emotional support and help them to cope with their depression in four simple ways:
Look for the signs that they are depressed. Monitor their behavior and see if it is just a bad day, or if they are experiencing chronic red flags through the entire week/month. Note those signs to have on hand if a doctor’s intervention becomes necessary and for a conversation with your child.
Listen to how they have been feeling. Let them know they can tell you anything at all and don’t have to fear being punished, even if they have done something they know is wrong or that will make you upset. Show them that they can open up to you.
Believe what they say. Trust is not easy to build and much too easy to break. You need to listen to what your child is saying and believe them when they say it. Let them also learn to believe you when you show them that your main concern is their happiness, health and safety.
Comfort them when they need it. A psychologist and psychiatrist could be a very needed combo but that doesn’t mean you should leave it all up to them. Comfort and love your child, offering them as much validation as possible.
Learn more at Sundance Canyon Academy.