As a parent, it can feel overwhelming when your child struggles with mental health problems. Learning how to talk to your struggling teen son about his depression is key to helping him overcome it. Your son might be reluctant to talk about it at first, or he might be experiencing depression denial. By bringing the issue to light and opening up communication, you allow him to address the underlying issues and move forward.
At Sundance Canyon Academy, our therapists have worked with countless teen boys who struggle with depression. Accepting their reality and moving past denial is the first step to overcoming depression. If you have tried talking to your son about his depression and won’t engage in the conversation, he could benefit from attending a boarding school for troubled boys.
While attending a therapeutic boarding school, students live in a supportive environment that encourages introspection and personal growth. Therapists engage in one-on-one counseling and group counseling to help the students learn skills to combat their depression. Many teens don’t know how to acknowledge unpleasant feelings, so they mask them. It can be easier to act like unpleasant feelings don’t exist than to face them. Once teens learn to acknowledge their uncomfortable feelings, they can take action to change those feelings.
How to talk to your struggling teen son about depression
Starting the conversation is essential, but it can be difficult. If your son dislikes talking about his feelings, he might clam up when you try to talk to him. However, it’s important that he hears what you have to say and that you give him the chance to share as well.
Talking about depression
Tell your teen what it is that’s concerning you. Do they seem unhappy? Have they stopped hanging out with their old friends? Do they seem to have “given up” on life? Explain why you are concerned and give them a chance to talk about it.
During this conversation, make sure that you remain nonjudgmental. As an adult, a lot of teenage problems can seem pretty trivial. To your son, though, his issues feel like a big deal. Hear him out and try to understand where he’s coming from, even if you disagree with him. If your teen feels like he’s going to be judged or going to get in trouble for how he feels, he will be more reluctant to share his feelings with you in the future.
Your teen needs to know that you will support them in their mental health. This doesn’t mean automatically agreeing with everything that they say. It does mean trying to understand their point of view and helping them find positive solutions to their problems.
If your teen doesn’t understand why they feel the way they do, they could benefit from seeing a therapist. Some teens are reluctant to see a therapist because they are worried about the stigma of getting psychiatric help. Assure your teen that they aren’t being judged and that you will keep their information private. Talking to a professional counselor is a great way to make sense of confusing emotions and start addressing them.
Encouraging him to get help
Even if your son denies that anything is wrong, you can still encourage him to get help. If he doesn’t feel comfortable going to see a therapist, he can start by talking to his guidance counselor at school. You could also bring your son to see his primary care physician to discuss his symptoms and get some advice.
If your teen completely refuses to talk to you about his feelings, denies feeling depressed, or refuses to go to counseling, you may need to take bigger steps to address the issue. Depression that is unaddressed during the teen years can lead to continued problems during adulthood. Contact us today to find out how we can help your family.