Teen depression has becoming increasingly alarming these days. One of the main reasons is that it’s really difficult to tell whether a teen is suffering from depression or just simply going though growing pains. The teenage years are when they begin to experience the pressures and challenges of the real world. All these combined with the changes that they are going through because of 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, encouragement and help during these stormy years. Although parents have the best intentions of their teen at heart, the sad truth is that many of the things that they do to try to help their teen overcome depression are actually doing 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 parents make is that they assume that all mood swings that their teen is going through is just part of growing pains. Unfortunately, this is quite natural since much of the symptoms of teen depression are very much like the mood swings that happens to all teens. Tuning in to your own parental gut instinct 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.
Nagging your teen
Some parents tend to go the other extreme by trying to force their teen to open up about their problem by constantly nagging them about it.
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, and might even be one of the triggers for them to really go over the edge.
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 really 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 downplaying 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 these behaviors as merely their teen being influenced with the wrong kind of kids and just becoming downright rebellious. As a result, they often resort to lecturing, criticizing and even punishing their teen for this instead of taking the time to do a little bit of investigating to see if there is something more to this.