How to support your teen with depression

Unfortunately, teens are prone to depression, and may actually be at higher risk than others. This is due to high demands that teens are expected to meet. In addition, this is a challenging time with many changes that can be difficult to accept. Not forgetting that teens can feel isolated and misunderstood. The teen years have always been difficult, however, in today’s times teens have it harder than ever before. If you believe your teen is suffering with depression, it can be hard to accept, however, you need to be supportive in every way possible.

How can you be a supportive parent to your teen?

Know the signs of depression

Knowing the common signs of depression can help you to identify depression in your teen. Being unhappy, hostile and difficult may not be a result of depression, rather just expressing emotions during these difficult years. If this is the case, it is still important to be supportive to prevent depression from occurring. However, any signs and symptoms that seem drastic and linger on for up to two weeks with no change could be depression.

Signs of depression to look out for, but not limited to, are a drastic change in your teen’s behavior and general being. Also a change in appetite and sleep patterns can indicate depression. Losing interest in everything, having low self-esteem and generally making damaging comments about their existence can all be signs of depression. Some of these signs can be a part of the change in teenagers, however, if it doesn’t seem right and if you are worried seek advice from a medical professional.

Talk to your teen

You know your teen best, and you are observing from the outside. If you know that your teen just isn’t right and seems to be struggling, it is important to reach out. While teens need their space and are at a stage where they want to break away from their parents, it is important to do what is right. You need to approach your teen in the right way, with a calm manner. You don’t want your teen to recoil further or put fear into your teen. Use the approach that is right for you. Your teen may be unaware that depression has hit. Refrain from being evasive and aggressive in approach, take it slow, be patient and importantly, persevere.

Get help

Depression is a clinical illness which strips a person from their identity. It drains all the life away and destroys a person’s existence. The longer the depression goes on for, the more damage it does. Teenagers are fragile and haven’t the life experience to handle this alone. Once you suspect your teen is suffering from depression, speak with your teen. Air your feelings; however, you don’t need to label it as depression before diagnoses. This can be frightening as well as humiliating for a teen. Inform your teen that help is needed, and go along to the doctors with your teen. There are many options available from medication to therapy, or a combination of treatments.

Be positive

Once you have decided the best course of treatment, you can be of further help to your teen. Instead of showing sorrow and wallowing in hurt and anger, expel positive vibes. This is far more helpful to your teen, and can help raise your teen’s spirits. If you show happiness, confidence and be positive, your teen can only feel better. You certainly don’t want your teen to feel guilt, which can only add to the problems. Be strong, be positive and show care in the right way. It may be difficult, but it is imperative to be there for your teen in the right way.

Show an interest in your teen

Find a hobby to share with your teen to bring closeness and to build on the relationship and friendship. Additionally, this makes your teen feel special, as well as giving something new and different to focus on. Keeping your teen close by and giving company can be a great help. Leaving your teen to suffer alone can only increase those symptoms of depression. Your teen needs your support, guidance and love more now, than ever before.

Always be there for your teen, even if you get the impression that your teen doesn’t want you there. You need to give support, love and guidance through these trying years and more so if depression hits. Your teen needs you now more than ever. Get educated, be understanding and remain positive. Give support and be a friend and parent all rolled into one. No one said parenting was easy, and this is another hurdle you must get over with your child.