Your teen looks grumpy. You ask him or her what the matter is, but they just shrug their shoulders. They’re doing badly in school, spend most of the day locked up in their rooms — that must be laziness or rebellion, right? Not always. Unbeknown to you, they might be silently suffering with depression.
Despite traditional beliefs stating otherwise, it’s now proven that depression is a serious mental disorder. There’s more to it than genetics; a child’s upbringing, if abusive or unhealthy, can cause significant mental damage during their teenage years.
Teens are prone to mood swings and distorted thoughts due to natural hormonal shifts happening inside their bodies. Now, when they’re predisposed to depression, sadness can be persistent and worsen over time if not addressed by family or a professional. As a parent, how can you help?
Contribute to a positive home life
A hostile environment is a major trigger for unhealthy coping mechanisms, like alcoholism and drug abuse. That’s because a turbulent atmosphere creates trauma and it’s natural to look for escapism to get away from it. When depression is involved, they’ll make harmful decisions without thinking of consequences. In their minds, things can’t get any worse than they already are.
Family issues aren’t the problem; the main concern should be the way they’re tackled. Growing up where fights and name-calling are constant will certainly take a toll on a fragile mental state. Hence, serious matters unrelated to your son or daughter should preferably be discussed out of their presence, although you shouldn’t hide them entirely.
Another way you can transform your home life is to spread positivity around it. It’s as easy as hanging inspirational art or typography on your teen’s room to help them shift into a more optimistic mentality. You can find beautiful art at most of the best online canvas printing shops.
Do your research
For centuries, depression was regarded as anything but a mental illness. It was thought to be caused by demonic possessions or other reasons which required brutal approaches as a cure.
Unfortunately, this antiquated mentality remains speckled on today’s society, even if claims of possession are less frequent. Older parents tend to view mental health issues as negligence or disobedience, and are uncomfortable with modern treatments like medication and therapy.
Most teens who face harsh criticism about their depression will keep their frustrations to themselves, and that’s not healthy. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy and culminate in destructive behavior.
Your teenagers need to talk to someone they trust, and who’s acquainted with their problems. Therefore, study this condition in depth and leave your preconceived notions behind. Learning all about it, from causes to treatments, is the first step towards successful communication.
A change in attitude shouldn’t come only from the teenagers, but also from who’s willing to help them out.
Even if you’ve been a distant parent for a number of reasons, simply letting your teen know you’re there for them works as a healing act. Judgement on your part is a communication blocker, so listen to what they have to say with an open mind.
You might have never felt the same way, but considering you’re familiar with the concept of depression, that’s a huge step in discussing alternatives with them.
Consider professional help
Not all parents are fully available to sit down and talk to their kids as needed, and sometimes mental illness can reach a stage where parents are no longer able to control it.
Some cases need individualized treatment to assist teenagers who suffer from depression, self-harm issues, substance abuse, and related disorders. A residential program treatment for troubled youth and teens can be an ideal option to receive the desired support, as your teen’s mental health will always be a main priority, from beginning to end.
From now on, pay close attention to the brisk shifts on your teen’s behavior, and address them as early as possible. Your comprehension alone could kick-start their healing process, and even save their life.