Unfortunately, depression among children is quickly growing in the US. As your child becomes an adolescent, they will face many different emotional changes and mood swings. Sometimes, parents have a hard time figuring out if the episode is just a part of the child growing up or if it could be depression.
This is why it’s important to know how to support your child if you feel like they are having a depressive episode. Polaris depression treatment for teens can be an excellent source for your family. If you are able to support them, they can feel like they have the resources and support they need to work through their depression and emotions.
Know the Warning Signs
One of the best ways to support your child when they have depression is to know the warning signs of mental health issues. When you know the warning signs, you can spot them early on and allow your child to get the help they need as soon as possible.
Here are some of the common signs of depression in teens to help you know the warning signs:
- Body aches
- Feelings of shame and guilt
- A lack of energy and motivation
- Lack of interest in school or other things that used to interest them
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Low self-esteem
- Withdrawal from loved ones and friends
- Not getting good grades or marks in school are decreasing
- Thoughts of death and suicide
- Big changes in eating habits
If you notice a few of these signs or a combination of many of them, make sure to take your child to the doctor and a therapist so they can talk through their feelings and you can get to the roof of what might be going on.
Give Your Child Emotional Support
During times of depression, your child will need more emotional support. Usually, their parent is the number one person they look towards when they want emotional support so you really need to make sure you are there for them.
Keep in mind that when a child is able to get emotional support from their family, they will feel more stable when it comes to other relationships and they will be able to form healthy relationships with friends and others around them.
Some of the best ways you can give your child emotional support include:
- Spending quality time with them and allowing them to choose an activity that they want to do with you
- Encourage them to always be open and honest with you even about things they feel might get them in trouble
- Validate and acknowledge their inner struggles
- Listen to them when they speak and ask them questions to show them you are listening
Make sure to show them support but do not push them to talk if they are not ready. Allow them to first think about their problems and struggles and then they can share with you when they are ready.
Show Them How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Many doctors agree that physical and mental health are very closely connected with one another. This means your child needs to ensure they have an active lifestyle as this can help to reduce the symptoms and risks of depression.
One of the best ways to encourage your child to be healthy is by modeling to them what it looks like to have a healthy lifestyle. Provide a good example for them by doing the following:
- Exercise with them. You can take a sports class together or go to the gym. You can also sign them up for a sport or activity that they have expressed interest in. This will allow them to meet their peers and make friends.
- Cook healthy meals. Always ensure your child has meals that incorporate a healthy mix of proteins, carbs, fruits, and vegetables. You also need to model healthy eating for them so they can see the importance. Don’t restrict their eating though. Always tell them sugar and sodas are also fine in moderation.
- Put them on a regular sleep schedule. Sleep can greatly reduce the effects of anxiety and depression. While your teen or child might not like when you tell them to sleep or rest, it’s really good for their brain when they go to bed at the same time. Younger children should also take naps during the day, so make sure to ensure they get enough rest throughout the day.
Give Your Child a Chance to Feel Connected
Children and young adults who are part of a community will be able to socialize and have peers their age they can connect with. When your kid does not have enough interaction and connection with others, it can make their depression worse.
To help your child feel connected, make sure you are encouraging them to join clubs and social events but try not to force them. Forcing them can make them feel worse.
If you are nervous about your child going places without you, you can organize sleepovers and parties at your home and invite the other children over.
Make sure they are also well connected to relatives that you have healthy relationships with and organize family gatherings so they can see family members.
Get Them Help
Getting your child professional help is also very important. You can first meet with their pediatrician and get recommendations for mental health professionals. You can also contact local mental health services in your area.
Make sure you are never ignoring the problem of childhood depression because you want to ensure that your children are always getting the help they need to grow healthy.
There are many things you can do when your child is experiencing depression. The main thing you want to do is support them and ensure they know you are there for them. When they feel supported, they will be able to know you are on their side and that you want them to feel loved and valued.
Remember it’s also okay to get professional help and guidance from their doctor as needed.