Great parents support their kids to discuss their worries from an extremely early age, always listen and offer help.
Kids can instantly feel isolated, misunderstood and blown off if parents are preoccupied with their own issues.
It’s hard to pin down why kids become depressed and frequently it’s a mix of variables. But some established scenarios severely impact kids and precipitate depression, for example:
- death in the family
- examination stress
- feeling awful
- unsympathetic parents
- girls/boys don’t enjoy me
- parental sickness
- parental discord.
Tell-Tale Signs For Parents
Parents often wonder what’s wrong with a kid who looks out of sorts lots of the time. Here’s a guide to what to be aware of.
Infants And Toddlers
They can’t tell us if they’re depressed, so they express themselves through their conduct and:
- become unresponsive
- are clingy but can’t accept relaxation
- refuse to eat
- can’t settle down to sleep.
- be tearful all the time
- quit eating
- wake up during the nighttime
- have regular nightmares and night terrors
- become quite demanding and naughty
- bully, hit and bite other kids
- begin telling lies
- act destructively.
A number of kids can place their depressed feelings into words – I well recall one of my sons, usually sociable and joyful, saying ‘The world doesn’t feel appropriate, Mum”. Kids immediately blame themselves if things FAIL and believe they’re useless. Subsequently their behavior appears to request punishment – lying, stealing or playing truant from school. Remember – a naughty, miserable kid isn’t an innately bad kid.
If they’re depressed they may:
• find it difficult to focus and lose interest in schoolwork and play
• become loners
• refuse to go to school
• whine of feeling bored all the time
• say they’re alone
• lose trust
• become hard to restrain
• become slovenly.
Virtually without exception, teenagers go through periods of being dark and anti-social and it can be hard to spot the difference between what’s standard and what’s depression. Look out for these signs of depression – one or two signs could be a passing phase but three, four or more mean you should see your physician:
- being considerably more sullen and irritable than standard
- becoming pulled away, giving up on friends and avocations
- losing interest in or not doing well at school
- taking no interest in hair, clothing, music
- not eating enough, even anorexia, or eating too much, even bulimia ,
- having low self esteem
- not having the capability to get out of bed until midday
- getting into bad habits and poor business
- taking drugs
- becoming intoxicated
- becoming preoccupied with ideas of passing
- hurting themselves by cutting their skin.
What’s The Treatment?
Getting professional help early from your GP for any kid whose unhappiness is more than a passing stage can frequently prevent long¬term depression. The mainstay of treating youth depression is what’s called talk therapy, sessions with a psychotherapist, clinical psychologist or family therapist, where the kid can vent their rage, discouragement, anxiety and hopelessness. Loving, caring focus is quite strong medication for every miserable kid.
How Can Grownups Help?
By themselves, kids only can’t make sense of feeling depressed; they feel helpless. Blue kids need a caring adult to take a loving interest in them and reveal comprehension. Subsequently they are able to help them cope with their feelings with time.