Teen depression has become increasingly alarming these days. One of the main reasons is that it’s tough to tell whether a teen is suffering from depression or just simply going through growing pains. It’s during teenage that teens begin to experience the pressures and challenges of the world. All these combined with the changes brought by puberty can easily make them extremely moody and unpredictable.
Since teenagers are still too young to be able to seek professional help if they want to, they rely on parents for support and encouragement during these turbulent years. Although parents have the best intentions of their teens at heart, the sad truth is that many of the things that they do to help them overcome depression actually do more harm than good.
Here are some of the dangerous, yet common, mistakes parents make when trying to deal with teen depression.
Assuming it’s just growing pains
Perhaps the most common, yet dangerous mistake that parents make is that they assume that all the mood swings that the teenager is going through are just part of growing pains. Unfortunately, this is quite natural since most teen depression symptoms are very much like the mood swings that happen to all teens. Turning to your own parental gut instincts can help you weed out the difference.
Waiting for your teen to open up
Many parents believe that when their teen is suffering from depression and need help, they will go up and ask them very much like they would do if they need something for school. What many parents don’t realize is that teens suffering from depression don’t exactly know how to open up about what they are feeling to anyone. This is because depressed teens believe that no one would either believe them or would even care. Far too often, parents that just simply wait on their teen to approach them for help end up realizing that something is wrong a bit too late.
“Keeping that communication channel open with your teen is one of the most important things as a parent you can do.” – C Pulsifer
Nagging your teen
Some parents tend to go to the extreme by nagging their teenagers to open up about their problems. While this can be quite understandable on the part of the parent, especially if their teen is starting to show signs of destructive behavior, nagging can also make your teen feel pressured. This is the last thing that your teen needs. It might even be one of the triggers for them to go over the edge.
“Arguing with a teenager is like wrestling in the mud with a pig. Sooner or later you figure out that they’re enjoying it.” – Anonymous
Downplaying the situation
Another common mistake parents make when trying to help their teen cope with depression is that they try to downplay whatever situation is causing their teen to feel depressed. Parents believe that if they make their teen realize that it’s not that much of a big deal, then they would snap out of their depression. Unfortunately, that’s not the way how teens receive this. By downplaying the situation, they associate this with their parents belittling how they are feeling and that they don’t really see it as much of a problem. Instead of snapping out of their depression, he or she ends up shutting down and becoming even more depressed.
Lecturing and criticizing
Engaging in delinquent and even destructive behaviors like cutting classes, stealing, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol is one of the many tell-tale signs that your teen may be suffering from depression. Sadly, many parents view teens with these behaviors as merely being influenced by the wrong kind of kids and just becoming downright rebellious. As a result, they often resort to lecturing, criticizing and even punishing their teens for this instead of taking the time to do a little bit of investigating to see if there is something more to this.