Raising a child can be complicated, but their life gets much more complex in their teen years. They are growing up and trying to find themselves, and often, the stresses of life can make them depressed. Here’s how you can speak to your teen about their depression.
Take it Seriously
Some parents may not approach a teen’s depression as seriously as they should. A parent may dismiss their depression as normal teen angst they will grow out of. That can be a serious mistake. While almost every teen is going to have a depressed phase, some are serious and can lead to self-harm if left untreated. Listen to your teen and take their depression seriously. Don’t write if off because you believe life was harder when you were young.
Be Honest About Depression
Your teen is old enough to hear about depression without any sugar coating. Explain to them how depression works and how it can be treated. If mental illness runs in the family, tell them that they are not alone, and everyone has their own battle to fight.
Often, teens may be afraid to talk about depression because of rumors they’ve heard. In their school, depressed people may be depicted as looking for attention or having nothing real to worry about. Make sure you smash any stereotype you run into and explain to your teen why those students are wrong.
Let Them Be Open Too
Some teens have a hard time handling their depression because they feel like their parents will be upset with them. Often, they are depressed over a relationship failing or for another reason. They may even be bullied. What you should do is let them be open about their feelings. Listen to them and do not judge. Your teen has a hard time as it is explaining themselves, and by interrupting or talking them down, you’ll be creating more problems than it’s worth.
Look for Signs of Something Bigger
As you speak, you may want to look for any signs of a bigger problem. Some teens may be involved with drugs or other issues without you knowing. While you should give your teen some privacy, there are red flags you can consider. Bad grades, paraphernalia, certain smells, or other signs may point to drug use, or friends who use drugs. If you suspect it, do an investigation.
Tell Them It’s Okay to Seek Help
School counseling, online therapy, or any other form of therapy should be an answer as well. A teen counselor is someone trained to understand the teen psyche, and can be a teen’s confidential person they talk to. In addition, a therapist can help a teen get some medication if they need it. Tell your teen that therapy is completely normal and should be used when all other options fail. There is no shame in a teen getting the help they need. For online options, try BetterHelp.
Teen depression is serious, and by listening, you can help your teen be a stronger person.