If your teenager suffers from depression or other mental health issues, they will benefit from talking with someone about their problems. Depression in teenagers can be caused by various factors such as hormones/chemical imbalance, early childhood trauma, genetics/family history, or learned patterns of negativity. With teenage depression, the risk of suicide increases. You, as a parent, can play a role in preventing that. Symptoms of teenage depression can look like this:
- Irritability. They may seem very touchy or easy to upset.
- Isolation. Removing themselves from family settings, spending lots of time in their rooms, or being extra quiet. They may push their friends and family away.
- Loss of interest in activities. They could have a hobby they were interested in and one day lose their ability to enjoy it.
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt. They may express their emotions by being extra apologetic.
- Difficulty concentrating. This can be shown in their performance in school or restless behavior when doing work at home.
- Changes in eating/sleeping habits. They could be eating and sleeping more or less.
How Do I Talk to My Teen?
As your children grow older, they start to learn how to be more independent. They tend to want to spend more time within their friend group and talk less with their parents. This is a normal part of growing up. However, teenagers still want and need to interact with their parents and feel comfortable talking to their moms and dads when they have problems. Here are some tips that you can utilize to make sure that you can communicate with your teenager.
- Remember not to force them to talk, but urge them to let you know when they are ready. If they feel like talking with you is something they have to do, they will feel less inclined to open up to you.
- Practice active listening. Sometimes you can restate things your teen said to make sure you understand and ask questions when you do not understand. Your teenager will recognize that you are listening.
- Try to focus on what your teen is saying instead of thinking about what you intend to state back.
- Stop what you are doing, if you need to, in order to pay attention. Do away with disturbances to make sure that you can listen well.
- Don’t interject with advice of your own or judge what they are talking about. This is a safe space for them to communicate about their issues.
- Do not try to take care of your teenager’s problem. The urge to want to help them will arise, but keep in mind that there isn’t any one solution. Be careful not to jump to conclusions and make assumptions about the topic. Your teenager likely has a different point of view than you do. Keep that in mind when you are talking with them.
- Realize when it is time to end the conversation. Sometimes things may get heated, and you may have to take a break or end the conversation altogether.
Our clinicians at Core Recovery can offer your teen an outlet and help them develop coping mechanisms to help them battle their depression.
Learn more about teenage depression here.