Parenting a teenager can be tough work. With all the hormones, stress, problems with friends and more, it can be hard to know what you should do to help and what you should let them figure out on their own. And while it’s common for teens to be moody, lazy, and bored on occasion, if you fear that your child is suffering from depression, that isn’t something you should let them try to handle by themselves. So to help those parents who are unsure what they can do for their depressed teen, here are three ways you can start helping today.
Differentiating Between Depression and Moodiness
As the hormones are raging and teens go through some of life’s more challenging moments, it’s only natural for them to feel sad, irritable, angry, stressed, anxious, moody, and tired sometimes. However, there is a big difference between normal teenage emotions and feelings of depression. To help you be able to tell the difference, Margarita Tartakovsky, a contributor to PsychCentral.com, shares the depression will often cause a teen to act much different from normal. If they all of a sudden have a big shift in their moods that last for more than a few weeks, that’s when you’ll want to ask about depression rather than just an isolated incident that’s causing them hardships.
Be Supportive, Not Critical
If your teen is going through the emotional and mental issues associated with depression, they’re going to need your support now more than ever. While their actions may cause you stress, Stephanie Dowd, a contributor to ChildMind.org, advises trying to be as supportive as you can and refrain from being too critical. Although this may feel like you’re doing little to help, standing by your teen and accepting what’s going on for him or her right now will be more helpful than you may realize.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Teens are notorious for having some unhealthy habits they indulge. From eating junk food to staying up too late and experimenting with substances they shouldn’t, it’s important for you as the parent to encourage your teen to lead a healthy lifestyle, especially if they’re having emotional troubles. Susan Fishman, a contributor to HealthGrades.com, shares that diet, exercise, and sleep can have a huge impact on mood. This means that if your child is suffering from depression, helping them to regulate their healthy habits could show marked improvement for them.
Everyone goes through hard times in their life where they lose interest in something or have a difficult time coping with the stresses of life. But if you’ve noticed that your teen is having a particularly stressful time that’s affecting their life and their functionality, consider helping them through their depression with the advice presented above.