There are many challenges that teenagers face, and sometimes the pressures can be overwhelming. Many times, teens do not know how to deal with the adversity in their lives, and it begins to affect their emotional well-being. How can parents make the distinction between normal adolescent moodiness and clinical depression? And even more importantly, what can parents do to help?
Rick Meeves informs parents that most kids do experience sadness or moodiness during the adolescent years. The combination of hormonal changes and increasing expectations academically and socially can cause teens to become overwhelmed. Depression does not come and go, and it occurs over a period of time. If you notice your child becoming increasingly withdrawn or isolated, displaying low motivation or performance in school and other activities, or discontinuing involvement in things they really enjoy, such as sports or socializing with friends, it is a good idea to h
ave your child talk to a professional.
David Fassler assures parents that it is completely healthy to have “sad” kids. Sadness is a normal and healthy emotion. Depression, on the other hand, is an illness, and it should not be ignored or passed off as a mood or an emotion. Depression will be more intense, it
will last longer and it will interfere with normal life and routines. Unlike sadness, depression does not go away after time.
Fassler also warns parents that teenagers who experience symptoms of depression could also be at risk for adult depression. It’s important for parents to learn about and teach their ch
ildren about the early warning signs. Teenagers who are aware of the possibility of depression can manage it more easily, which makes it easier to accept and acknowledge.
Some instances that have been linked to depression in adolescents are disruptions in early life, such as the loss of a parent or an unstable home life. Children who go through traumatic events as young children sometimes deal with depression later in life, because they hold their emotions in and avoid dealing with them until they cannot ignore them any longer. The added stresses of adolescence can sometimes bring out these emotions and force the child to relive them all over again. Fassler says that when a child grows up without consistency and stability, he is more likely to experience depression as a teenager or young adult.
Monitoring your child’s emotions and moodiness is the best way to identify problems with depression. Teenagers who have mood swings or emotional breakdowns are completely normal, but if those emoti
ons do not let up, and they seem to become worse with time, you should get help from a professional. Normal sadness should not interfere with your child’s life and keep him from doing the things he enjoys. Often times, teenagers do not have the vocabulary to explain what they are feeling, so it’s up to you to get them the help they need.