As noted, irritability, rather than sadness, is often the predominant mood in depressed teens. A depressed teenager may be grumpy, hostile, easily frustrated, or prone to angry outbursts. Unexplained aches and pains. Depressed teens frequently complain about physical ailments such as headaches or stomachaches. If a thorough physical exam does not reveal a medical cause, these aches and pains may indicate depression.
Extreme sensitivity to criticism.
Depressed teens are plagued by feelings of worthlessness, making them extremely vulnerable to criticism, rejection, and failure. Withdrawing from some, but not all people. While adults tend to isolate themselves when depressed, teenagers usually keep up at least some friendships. However, teens with depression may socialize less than before, pull away from their parents, or start hanging out with a different crowd. Hormones and stress can explain the occasional bout of teenage angst—but not continuous and unrelenting unhappiness, lethargy, or irritability. If you suspect that a teenager is suicidal, take immediate action!
For hour suicide prevention and support in the U. To find a suicide helpline outside the U. To learn more about suicide risk factors, warning signs, and what to do in a crisis, read Suicide Prevention. If you suspect that your teen is depressed, bring up your concerns in a loving, non-judgmental way. Focus on listening, not lecturing. Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment once your teenager begins to talk. The important thing is that your child is communicating. Be gentle but persistent. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens.
Acknowledge their feelings. Simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing can go a long way in making them feel understood and supported. Trust your gut.
More Books by Michael N. Marcus
If your teen claims nothing is wrong but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. The important thing is to get them talking to someone. Depressed teens tend to withdraw from their friends and the activities they used to enjoy. But isolation only makes depression worse, so do what you can to help your teen reconnect. Make face time a priority. Combat social isolation. Do what you can to keep your teen connected to others.
Encourage them to go out with friends or invite friends over. Participate in activities that involve other families and give your child an opportunity to meet and connect with other kids. Get your teen involved. While your teen may lack motivation and interest at first, as they reengage with the world, they should start to feel better and regain their enthusiasm. Promote volunteerism.
Doing things for others is a powerful antidepressant and self-esteem booster. If you volunteer with them, it can also be a good bonding experience. Physical and mental health are inextricably connected. Depression is exacerbated by inactivity, inadequate sleep, and poor nutrition. Unfortunately, teens are known for their unhealthy habits: staying up late, eating junk food, and spending hours on their phones and devices.
But as a parent, you can combat these behaviors by establishing a healthy, supportive home environment. Get your teen moving! Exercise is absolutely essential to mental health , so get your teen active—whatever it takes.
Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids Are Not Alright
Set limits on screen time. Teens often go online to escape their problems, but when screen time goes up, physical activity and face time with friends goes down. Both are a recipe for worsening symptoms. Provide nutritious, balanced meals. Make sure your teen is getting the nutrition they need for optimum brain health and mood support: things like healthy fats , quality protein , and fresh produce.
Encourage plenty of sleep. Teens need more sleep than adults to function optimally—up to hours per night. No one therapist is a miracle worker, and no one treatment works for everyone. Talk therapy is often a good initial treatment for mild to moderate cases of depression. Unfortunately, some parents feel pushed into choosing antidepressant medication over other treatments that may be cost-prohibitive or time-intensive.
In all cases, antidepressants are most effective when part of a broader treatment plan. Antidepressants were designed and tested on adults, so their impact on young, developing brains is not yet fully understood. Some researchers are concerned that exposure to drugs such as Prozac may interfere with normal brain development—particularly the way the brain manages stress and regulates emotion.
Antidepressants also come with risks and side effects of their own , including a number of safety concerns specific to children and young adults. They are also known to increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in some teenagers and young adults. Teens with bipolar disorder , a family history of bipolar disorder, or a history of previous suicide attempts are particularly vulnerable. The risk of suicide is highest during the first two months of antidepressant treatment.
Teenagers on antidepressants should be closely monitored for any sign that the depression is getting worse. Be understanding. Living with a depressed teenager can be difficult and draining. She'd carry round a little whip — actually several little leather straps of about 6" in length, all coming together into a wooden handle. She would hit my cousins on the back of their legs if they stepped even a tiny bit out of line. But it is absolutely true to say I never once saw them throw food. Most parenting books are about how to get children to do things well. By well, read obediently.
When and how you - the adult - want them to do something: eat well, pee in the potty, sleep well that's the big one , behave well. The aim, it would seem, is to raise compliant children. But actually is an obedient child cause for concern or celebration? The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became by this question.
- Our Last Summer Musical?
- How to Be Creative!
- How Are Kids Supposed to Learn to Be Smart Online If Adults Are Such Big Dummies?!
Telling someone their child is obedient is usually meant as a compliment. But an obedient adult? Not quite so attractive is it?
- Raising a Child with Bipolar Disorder - Special Children.
- General IELTS Reading Practice Tests 1-5 (Practice Tests for Your Ebook Reader 4).
- Pope John Paul II Congressional Gold Medal!
- Explaining homicide to children and young people.
We have other words for that, doormat being one of them. Alfie Kohn, author of 'Unconditional Parenting. Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason' says, "When I ask parents, at the beginning of my lectures, what their long term goals are for the children, I hear words such as ethical, compassionate independent happy and so on. No-one ever says mindlessly compliant.
Stories I'd Tell My Children (But Maybe Not Until They're Adults) on Apple Books
A compliant child becomes a particular concern, Kohn admits, when they reach adolescence. To put it the other way around: kids who are subject to peer pressure at its worst are kids whose parents taught them to do what they're told. Children who have been responded to, led to believe - in a healthy way - that their voice is valued, that all they have to do is object and action will be taken - they will push boundaries. And this is really healthy behaviour. They've learned there's no point arguing because their voice isn't valued. So much of what we see as disobedience in children is actually just natural, curious, exploring, learning behaviour.
Or reacting — in the only way they know how — to a situation over which they have no control. A very obedient or complaint child — it depends, some are more docile by temperament - but others have created a false self because they sense their parent will only love them if they are obedient. The need for autonomy doesn't vanish because kids have been cowed into doing what they're told. A very young child isn't actually meant to be obedient all of the time, according to Roy. This is because their needs are often completely at odds with an adult's.