Childhood Depression: 5 Things to Do When Your Child Is Depressed
Children, especially teenagers, go through a vast gamut of changes while growing up.
Children, especially teenagers, go through a vast gamut of changes while growing up. Some go through occasional mood swings or the emotional outbursts that are likely to be experienced amongst most adolescents. But few changes are not the part of this development process, yet remain deceptively cloaked under the false front of growing up issues. With this, we refer to the prolonged sadness/ irritability/ aches and pains/ lack of energy etc. It starts interfering and affecting the child's social as well as inter-personal activities, causing Depression. It is, therefore, pivotal to dig up this thin line between the two so that one can take action and attend to it ASAP.
Now let's see what, as a parent, you can do to combat this condition and help your child out of it.
In most cases, Depression occurs when the child is unable to share his feelings or express himself freely. In general scenarios, this causes mental suffocation. While on the other hand, being able to speak about your fears, aspirations, inhibitions, expectations, joys, sorrows etc. help lighten your heart, mind and soul.
Therefore, the moment you notice that your child is showing the symptoms of Depression, you must spring into immediate action and have an open talk with him. Open and honest conversations with a close one help the child acknowledge that he is not alone in his struggles. It further strengthens his inner power and allows him to fight his battles more courageously.
2. Encourage a healthy lifestyle
Depression can adversely affect the child's energy and concentration, thereby disturbing his sleep and appetite too. It is, therefore, imperative to encourage a lifestyle that promotes regular exercising, healthier meals and eating habits, and enough sleep to allow the mind as well as the body to replenish itself. Introduce them to meditation and yoga that can stimulate their mental regeneration. Offer them your company and take them for nature walks to inspire them for a positive outlook towards life.
Also, limit their screen time, in order to encourage their physical activity so that they can have fun with their friends, while also building positive social connections with the peer group.
3. Help them connect
Depression forces people to build a fence around them, and they don't realise before succumbing to isolation. To aid the eradication of this disorder from its root, one must work at making such children connect with the outer world at all levels. Of course, it is understandable that no one can be forced to be friends with someone. They might resist and avoid social interactions initially, but you have got to stay persistent in your efforts. Make them a part of various group activities that they might enjoy. This will make way for building a bridge amongst them naturally. Organise family gatherings, attend social events together and do everything it takes but never leave loneliness unattended. Remember, it will not go away on its own!
4. Get professional help
If you happen to make a late discovery of depression in your child or the above-mentioned approaches fail to cater to your purpose, then it is advised that you seek professional help ASAP. This could either be in the form of therapy or medication, depending upon the seriousness of the matter. Whatever be the case, stand strong with your child and tell them it is just a phase, and with sheer will power, they can make it pass victoriously. You may take try reading about Clean and have an expert on board.
Also, it is important that you keep a tab on your child to make sure he is attending his therapy sessions regularly and taking his medications as per advised because sometimes, adolescents with this mental condition can behave erratically and hold out against treatments.
5. Extend emotional support
Apart from genetic vulnerability or biochemical disturbances, the leading causes of depression amongst children are associated mainly with bullying, physical appearances, bitter family environment, etc. Whatever be the reason, depression makes kids feel worthless, withdrawn, rejected, or unlovable. Because of this, it becomes exceedingly crucial for the parents to provide them with an environment filled with unconditional love. Supervise their behaviour. Get to know what is bothering them. Is it the bullies, do they detest the way they look or is it because of the absence of love and affection at their home? Tell them that they are special and cared about deeply. Fill in their insecurities with ample support. Demonstrate your concern by listening to every detail they need to share. Spend quality time with them. Help them adopt a different outlook for the problems in life.
It can be as hard for the parents as it is for the children who are battling depression since they are the ones on the receiving end of all the irritability and coldness. Thus, it is suggested that parents must keep their calm and maintain their patience while dealing with such kids. They should know that however, this condition can not be stopped or fixed, but with love and support in place, it can be treated well and for good.