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Archive for the ‘Depression in Teenagers’ Category

A parent skill that is very powerful with teenagers is Listening.  I know…this can seem like a very basic and obvious skill, however, this is not necessarily the case and this can be a tricky skill with teens sometimes.  The reason for this is because it can be scary for teenagers to think about how much they need you and rely on you, as their parent or guardian.  Think about how much energy they spend on pushing you away in an effort to prove how much they DON’T need you (which FYI they are trying to prove to themselves more than to anyone else).  Because of this, it is important for parents to take advantage of the opportunities when their teenagers WANT to talk to them and to be able to really listen fully when these opportunities arise.  When teens feel heard…they will be more likely to talk more.

Below are some tips and things to think about when listening to you teen:

  • Pay attention and be aware of when they want to talk – it is not always so obvious and they may not say, “do you have a minute to talk”.  They may be doing something else in an effort to get your attention, they may even be yelling or they may just make a point to be near you.  In such situations, you can simply say, “if there is anything you want to talk about I am here to listen”.  Keep is simple and don’t press them for information.
  • Be undistracted when they start talking – ignore the phone, TV or any other distractions around you as much as possible so that they feel they have your undivided attention and that what they are saying is important to you.
  • Make sure your body language gives the message you are listening – regardless of what they are saying, try to be relaxed, attentive and non-threatening while they are talking (if they are sitting, sit with them and don’t stand over them, etc).
  • Make conversations feel less threatening – sometimes sitting face to face is too much for teenagers.  Maybe talk while doing dishes, shooting a basketball, riding in the car, or doing some other activity.  This may take the pressure off them and make it easier for them to say what they really want to say.
  • Stay calm.  Being judgmental or having a strong emotional reaction will shut them down. If they feel like you are judging them or that they really upset you they will likely shut down and not come to you in the future.  This can be difficult to do since your teen may be talking about something that you disapprove of, something that scares you or even something that shocks you.  Trying to keep your emotions in control will allow the conversation to continue so that you can get all the information and let your teenager know that they can come to you, even in difficult situations.
  • Remember there is power in silence – sometimes just listening and hearing what they are saying without judging them is more effective than trying to offer advice.  If they feel they can really tell you what they want to say, they will be more likely to come to you again.
  • Respond in a way that keeps them talking – if you do respond to them, ask a non-threatening question or ask for clarification rather than just giving them your opinion or telling them what you think they should do.  Say something like, “that sounds difficult, what you do think you might want to do to make it better?”  You are not lecturing, advising or judging – you are being curious and letting them know you are interested in their thoughts.

I want to be clear that if your teenager has done something really wrong or if they are unsafe that you should not just sit and listen to them – in those situations you will need to step in with consequences or an intervention that is in the best interest of your child.  I am talking about all the other situations that arise where your teenager is working on being independent, trying to figure things out on their own and dealing with the difficult things that come up in the life of a teenager.  If they know you will listen – they will come to you and often times it matters less what you say and more that you are just there as a support to listen to them.

Go to www.HowToParentATeen to get more FREE parenting tips, to check out our parenting coaching programs and to sign up to get tips like this FREE every single week.

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I feel that talking about and planning for summer is an important topic each year.   Teenagers look forward to their summer break and usually start the countdown right after April vacation.  Whether you have a teenager home from college or a teenager out of high school (or middle school) for the summer, you are potentially less thrilled than they are about the summer “break”.  Parents often struggle with the summer breaks because they feel like their teen may have too much unstructured time or that they may “sleep their days away”.  In addition to this, they generally also want their teens to be able to have some time to relax, have fun and enjoy their time off from school.

I have found that when teenagers do not have any plans or expectations for the summer that it does not go well.  It is generally not healthy to have teenagers sleeping all day or not having any sort of responsibility for the entire summer.  Of course there are some teenagers who will work all summer full-time and there are some who will fight the idea of working or committing to any schedule as long as they possibly can.  It is my experience that doing some planning for the summer and giving teens choices produces the best results that are agreeable to both teens and their parents.

Below are some suggestions I have given to my private clients that I have seen work out well for teenagers during their summer breaks:

  1. Have a discussion with your teen prior to the summer where you set some expectations.  (For Example:  “I know that you want to have time to spend with your friends and relax this summer but three days per week you will need to be up and ready to leave the house by 10am –  the other days you can relax and sleep in more if you want”)  Such discussions both set the expectation and offer your teen some choice.
  2. Let your teen know that they will have household chores to do – outline them clearly (maybe make a chart) and negotiate any allowance they will receive (if this is something you have for them but it is certainly not necessary) if successfully completing their chores.  Hold them accountable to doing their chore before you give them any allowance.
  3. Let your teen know that they will be expected to work (if age appropriate) or volunteer for a certain number of hours per week.  I have had families who have had their teens volunteer at the following places, however, there are many, many more based on your teens interests and your location:  animal shelter, nursing home, hospital, library, daycare center, in a work setting that is of interest to them similar to an internship or apprenticeship, soup kitchen.  I once worked with a girl who volunteered to help clean in a gym in exchange for a summer gym membership which worked out really well.
  4. If your teenager is old enough to work, have them start filling out applications now – the earlier the better rather than waiting for everyone else who is finishing up school to begin doing the same thing.
  5. If your teen is not old enough to work you may encourage them to offer to mow lawns, walk dogs, baby sit locally, etc.  These are great ways to begin to teach responsibility and to help them earn a little extra money.
  6. Explore any appropriate summer sports leagues / camps.  This is a great way to help structure your teens days if this is an area of interest for them.
  7. Explore other enrichment activities:  art classes, music lessons, sewing classes, computer classes, photography classes, sailing classes, dance classes, etc.  Many of the local community colleges have programs for students during the summer months which offer a wide range of classes.

It is always best to find something that helps build both responsibility and competency in your teenager which will benefit them as they grow into young adults.

For more Parenting Tips designed specifically for parents of teenagers, go to www.HowToParentATeen.com.

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“Island of Competence” is a term coined by Dr. Robert Brooks and is a term I love. What this is (and this applies to adults too), is a term for those things inIsland life that make us feel valuable and make us feel good about ourselves.  These are the things that give us a sense of accomplishment and that make us feel important despite all the things that can make us feel the opposite of this.  Our Islands of Competence are our strengths.  Teenagers need these islands in their lives so that they can feel connected, important and like they have something to contribute to the world.  Without this, they are swimming around in a sea of feeling like a failure, like they don’t belong, like they are not wanted and like they are not valuable.  Floating in this sea of negativity and loneliness for too long can have many potential negative consequences for teenagers (depression, anger, falling in with a negative crowd, engaging in at-risk behaviors or self-destruction).  If your teenager is experiencing any of these, you may want to seek professional help but also, really try to help them find their Islands of Competence.  Teens would much rather be involved in things that they can be proud of and which make them feel good about themselves than in negative things – they may just need some help, support and encouragement so that they are able to see what positive things they can offer the world.

So, as a parent, how can you help your teen find their Island of Competence? 

1.       Make a real effort to frame things in the positive when possible.   If your teenager is having difficulties in school that need to be addressed, make sure the discussion also includes the positive things they are doing because perhaps those things can be used to help resolve the negative things.

2.       Be open.  Be open to topics or interests your teenager brings up, even if they seem bazaar or unusual to you.  Try to keep an open mind and have your teen educate you about them.  Be interested and see if these interests can be channeled into a positive activity, hobby, etc.

3.       Reinforce the positive.  We get more of what we focus on so focusing on the positive things your teen is doing or the positive things they are expressing interest in will get you more of those things.  “Catch them being good” and don’t let the frustrating or negative things they are doing completely overshadow any positive things.  This will open their eyes to their own positive qualities as well.

4.       Help your teen reach outside their comfort zone.  Teens may sometimes have interests that are not “typical” teenage interests so they will talk themselves out of them because of their fear of what others may say or think.  Help them to not do this.  Help them to pursue their interests and feel safe doing this so that they are able to give new things a try.Father and boy

5.       Help them see their talents.  Take notice of all the little things your teen does well and tell them about these things as they come up.  Encourage other adults in their life to do the same.

6.       Help your teenager brainstorm ways of connecting with others around their strengths.  Whether it is sports, drawing, writing, singing, dancing, reading, debating, swimming, mentoring younger children, talking to or keeping the elderly company, caring for animals, science, bike riding, cooking, taking pictures, hiking, playing a musical instrument, volunteering, or so many other things…help them see how these things make them special, valuable and how they can been used to connect with others.  Sometimes this takes brainstorming on the part of parents also but it is well worth it to see your teenagers find their own Islands of Competence.

Go to the How To Parent A Teen website for more tips and support specific to Parenting Teens.

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The teenage years involve many changes, both emotional and physical, which can result in a lot of confusion for teens themselves as well as for their parents.  One of the major tasks associated with adolescent development is that of gaining increased independence.  This means you may notice your teenager disagreeing more, becoming more defiant, looking differently and trying to push you away.  Many parents of teenagers struggle with trying to determine what changes are “normal” or “healthy” and what changes should cause them concern.

Below can be used as a guide for parents who are wondering if the changes they are seeing in their teenager are a normal part of the developmental process or if they should be considered problematic.  Unfortunately there is no black and white answer but by thinking about the information below as well, as listening to what your gut tells you, you should have a pretty good sense of whether you may want to consider some outside intervention or whether your teenager is “just being a normal teenager”.

Normal Behaviors of Teenagers: 

Expressing a difference of opinion more often / Arguing more with you.  Unfortunately this is very normal (but certainly not fun!).  Teenagers are starting to think more independently and like to assert this independent thinking when they can.  This is not a bad thing much of the time and should be considered normal.  When you may start to be concerned is if the arguing is constant, they get out of control when arguing or their opinions or ideas could lead to dangerous behaviors.

Change in appearance.  This is also very normal.  Teens usually start to dress differently and may push the limits with their hair, makeup, piercings, etc.  Generally teenagers are struggling with both how to fit in as well as with figuring out who they are.  This is very confusing for teenagers and they may go through a couple different “styles”.  You may not always like their choice of style but should allow some freedom of expression during this time.  When you may start to be concerned is if they are getting excessive piercings, tattoos, dressing very provocatively or in a way that is against a school or potential job dress code.

Mood swings.  Unfortunately this is also typical during adolescence and parents are most often on the receiving end of such mood swings.  During adolescence, your child is experiencing many hormonal changes which impact their overall mood.  In addition, they are experiencing many changes, pressures and a lot of confusion which further contributes to these mood swings.  Often, teenagers see their lives as all good (someone they like paid attention to them) or all bad (a friend was talking about them behind their back).  When you may start to be concerned about these mood swings is if your teenager seems to be angry most of the time or is being aggressive.  In addition, teenage depression can be very concerning so it is important to watch for signs of excessive isolation, crying, sleeping or eating a lot and especially if your teenager is having any thoughts of death or of hurting themselves.  Any increase in violence, aggression or any instance where your teenager is hurting themselves should be addressed immediately with outside support if necessary.

Withdrawing from family or from activities they used to enjoy.  Wanting to spend less time with family members is very common among teenagers.  Friends become the center of their world and they generally become consumed with what their friends think of them, who is doing what and with wanting to spend as much time as possible on the phone, computer, texting or hanging out with friends.  In addition, they may have a shift in things they enjoy doing.  This may be a genuine change of interest that is a result of maturity or may be an effort to fit in more with a group of peers or wanting to explore new interests.  This is all normal and exploring new things (as long as they are not dangerous or unhealthy) is a good thing.  However, if your teenager is not speaking to you at all, outwardly refuses to do anything at all with family members including major holiday events and / or has stopped showing an interest in any activities, this could be a warning sign of depression, anxiety, substance use of some other deeper issue.

Experimenting with drugs or alcohol.  The bad news is that this is very common during the teenage years.  Most teens do some sort of experimentation with drugs or alcohol.  While this should not be ignored by parents (parents should issue consequences, review their rules, provide education about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol, etc), it does not automatically warrant the need for professional help.  Signs to look for that may indicate your teenager is doing more than experimenting with drugs and alcohol include:  decline in academic performance, increased difficulty getting up for school or missing a lot of school, loss of friends or significant change of friends, missing money, significant behavioral changes.

As I have stated, it is difficult to give any clear cut answer for when outside parenting support or consultation or intervention for your teenager are warranted.  As a parent, you know your child, so it is important to gather factual information, but to also listen to your gut which could be telling you something is wrong.

For more ongoing parent tips, sign up for our free ezine at How To Parent A Teen and follow us on Twitter

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Does it feel like your child turned into a different being once adolescence hit?  Well, they very well may have.  The good news is that there was not an alien take over, the bad news is that this is unfortunately very common and you, as the parent, feel the brunt of it.  Understanding it does not completely change it, however, it can make it better and it does seem to help parents better manage their own emotional responses to the behaviors of their teenagers. The information I am sharing does not describe every teen boy or may not describe your teenager 100%, however, it is meant to offer some feelings of normalcy about what you may be experiencing with your teenager as well as an understanding of why some of these behaviors are typical of teen boys.

Why is my son so different since he hit adolescence?

Do you lack communication with your teen son?  Do you feel like they live in their room and you hardly see them let alone know anything that is going on in their life?  Are they constantly out with friends yet you have no idea who thesefriend are, who their families are or what they do when they spend time together?  Do they decline your offers to spend time doing family things?  If any or all of these scenarios apply to your son, you have a pretty typical teenage boy.

So what is going on?  The first and strongest reason for boys behaving in this way is that they are working towards achieving independence and in order to do this, they need to separate from you, who they have depended on for so many years of their life.  They do not know how to do this thoughtfully or gracefully (or may not even really realize they are doing it) so they just isolate from you as a way of not feeling so dependent on you.  It kind of makes sense if you think about it in this way, although it does not make it any less frustrating or concerning when you are on the receiving end of it.  Secondly, it is normal for boys to be embarrassed about changes going on as their bodies mature.  Boys also experience an increase in sexualized feelings which can be overwhelming and not something they want to discuss with their parents.  Finally, it is very normal during adolescence for friends to become more important than parents or other family members.  This is not a negative reflection on the family but rather a shift from seeing the family as the center of the world to really wanting to discover the larger world that is out there as a way of establishing independence.

Often times mothers feel this pulling back more than fathers do.  This is because mothers are generally seen as the nurturers and the caretakers (although not always) and therefore sons need to push their mothers away in order to begin to create their independence.  This is obviously very concerning for a mother who may try harder to reach out to her son in an effort to increase communication and to remain actively involved in his life.  This, however, is actually not helpful and can create and increase in opposition, isolation or family discord.  Understanding the reason for the behavior can be helpful for mothers so that they do not take this pulling back personally and can allow their son some space to begin to develop independence.  Sometimes this pulling back is not so obvious with fathers, however, it still exists.  Sons may connect with their fathers around other things (playing sports, a game on the TV, a project in the house) while maintaining an emotional distance during this time of developing independence.

Boys more often than girls will isolate and avoid confrontation when possible.  However, that is not to say that boys do not display strong, negative emotions towards their parents which can be scary and very problematic.  Yelling by adolescent males can be very aggressive and threatening in nature and at times the anger turns physical which can result in their throwing things, breaking things and at times even lashing out physically at a parent.  As is already stated, this can be very scary – for both the adolescent who has likely grown in size and strength and for the parent.  It is never acceptable for children to break things or cause harm to others in the household.  It is also never acceptable for parents to become physically aggressive with their children (it is illegal for starters) which can leave parents feeling like they are ineffective and helpless.  In such situations, the use of outside support may be necessary in order to prevent further aggressive outbursts and to keep everyone in the home (including the individual who was demonstrating the aggression) feeling safe.  Sometimes (although every situation is certainly different) giving your teenage boy a little bit of space and alone time when they are feeling upset is helpful in preventing such an outburst.  This does not mean that you do not ask them to follow through with certain expectations or that you avoid having difficult conversations with them…it just means that you do it at a time where they are more in control of their emotions which ultimately leads to a more productive interaction for both you and your son.

There is certainly much more information related to what makes teenage boys tick, however, this overview is meant to help you, as the parent, gain an understanding about what may be going on for your child which will help you make decisions that are best for you and your family regarding how to deal with your teenage son effectively.  I do want to stress that while most boys go through this process of isolation or distancing safely, there are others who experience significant difficulties during this difficult period of transition.  Some adolescent boys begin to use drugs and/or alcohol as a way of gaining confidence in social situations or for managing their confusing emotions.  Others become involved in negative peer groups and succumb to the peer pressures associated with criminal activity.  As is stated above, some become emotionally out of control and become aggressive and violent.  If you have real concerns about such behaviors, you should consult with an expert who can help you determine if additional support or help is needed.

As the parent, you know your teen the best.  Trust your instincts while allowing yourself to be open to understanding what might be going on for them.  And, one of the most important things to remember while enduring the stress that can be associated with parenting a teenager while dealing with everything else in your life, is that you need to take time for yourself, do the things you enjoy and practice good self-care on a regular basis.

Follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/KarenParentTeen or go to our How To Parent A Teen website for additional resources and programs designed specifically for parents of teenagers.

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Wondering if your teenager needs medication is something that can weigh heavily on the minds of parents.  Parents often wonder about medication if their teenager begins behaving differently, is struggling with being able to pay attention in school, has significant mood swings or seems to have a very low mood much of the time.  The idea of having your child on medication can be very scary for parents and there are so many conflicting opinions out there – how do you know what the “right” one is.  Placing children on medication is a big decision and one which deserves both information gathering and a lot of thought.

Since every situation is different and there are no clear lines that dictate when a teenager should or should not be placed on medication, I cannot give specific advice about which types of behaviors warrant medication.   I am also not a doctor so knowing which medications are most effective and when they should be prescribed is not my role.  However, I can give some guidance about how to make sure you are making an informed decision about medication.

  1. Clearly outline the reasons you are thinking medication may be helpful.  It is often helpful to keep a log of your child’s moods or behaviors that will help clarify what the concerns are, how long they have been occurring, how long they last each time they are present, how often they are occurring, what the response is, etc.
  2. Look online to gather preliminary information.  The internet is a great resource for information gathering and to begin to inform you about what your child may be experiencing, however, remember that each situation and child is different so don’t use this as your only source of information.  In addition, when locating information on the internet, make sure you are clear about who the author of the information is to make sure they are giving truly objective and factual information.
  3. Speak with a professional.  Many parents will use their teenager’s Primary Care Physician as the first professional they speak with.  These individuals can be great resources for general information about what your child may be experiencing and can begin to educate you about what medications may be available if they feel they may be warranted.  They may also refer you to have your child meet with a therapist (you should look for a licensed therapist who has experience working with children and teenagers) and / or  a psychiatrist.
  4. Therapist or Psychiatrist?  Many times people are confused about these two roles.  A very simple explanation is this –  Therapists provide therapy or counseling and cannot prescribe medication,  however, they are usually knowledgeable to some degree about medications as they relate to symptoms in general.  Psychiatrists are extremely knowledgeable about medications but may not also do therapy which can be very helpful in addressing many issues with teenagers.  Often times therapists and psychiatrists work as a pair to best meet the needs of individuals who may benefit from both therapy and medication.  It is often recommended that families start with a therapist first and see if this will address whatever concerns they may be having and if not, then also have a medication consultation with a psychiatrist.
  5. Get more than one opinion.  It is perfectly reasonable to get more than one opinion about the decision to have your teenager use medication.  If something does not make sense, you should not hesitate to ask for clarification.  It is okay to question professionals about why they are doing something or ask if there are other options for your teenager.  You are the parents and should make sure you are remaining in the driver’s seat at all times when it comes to your teen’s care.
  6. Make sure your teenager is informed.  It is really important that your teenager understand what is taking place if you do decide to move forward with therapy and / or  medication.  This can be very scary for them or may make them feel “abnormal” which can result in resistance, sadness or anger.  Being able to  work with professionals who are sensitive to this will be critical for your teenager.

A book that I have found useful and which I have recommended to parents with whom I have worked is Straight Talk About Psychiatric Medications For Kids by Dr. Wilens.  Being well-informed is critical if you are in this situation so that you make the best decision you can for your teenager.

For additional information related to parenting teenagers, please go to How To Parent A Teen and  Follow us on Twitter at KarenParentTeen.

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The ups and downs of the teenage years can be very confusing for parents. Mood changes are normal and should be expected as children navigate through their adolescence.  However, there are many teens who suffer from depression which is significantly different from common mood changes in teenagers and which can be very serious.

What is Depression?

Some statistics show that four out of every 100 teenagers experience some sort of serious depression each year.  Most individuals who experience some form of depression can be helped with treatment.  The difference between depression and normal sadness is usually related to the strength of the feeling as well as the persistence of the feeling.  Individuals who are depressed usually experience these strong feelings for weeks at a time (often times much longer) rather than just for a brief period of time.  Some common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad all the time
  • Frequent crying
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Lack of motivation or enthusiasm
  • Fatigue – lack of energy
  • Poor concentration
  • Thoughts of suicide and death
  • Feel like nothing good will ever happen
  • No longer enjoying things that used to be fun

 Adolescent Depression versus Adult Depression:

Adolescent depression can be very different from depression in adults.  In teens it is more common for depression to present as irritability or anger.  Depressed teens may be hostile, easily frustrated and may have frequent, angry outbursts which is not necessarily what you think about when you hear “depression”.  In addition, teenagers experiencing depression may complain of physical ailments such as headaches or stomach-aches.  Further, teens who are depressed are highly sensitive to criticism due to their already low feelings of self-worth.  Finally, teens who are depressed may not isolate from everyone in their lives, however, will have noticeable changes in their interactions and may pull away from certain individuals in their lives (often times parents).

What Can Happen if Depression Goes Untreated?

If a teenager’s depression goes untreated the following behaviors could result:

  • Problems in school – drop in grades, poor attendance, dropping out
  • Running away – is a cry for help as teens try to escape their feelings
  • Substance abuse – teens may try to “self medicate” or escape from their feelings
  • Low self-esteem – teens may have intense feeling of unworthiness
  • Eating disorders – often signs of untreated depression
  • Internet addiction – is an escape from their real life but actually increases isolation
  • Self-injury – is a coping mechanism for teens and an effort to control the pain inside
  • Reckless behavior – engage in dangerous behaviors because they have stopped caring
  • Violence – (usually boys) self-hatred is sometimes acted out
  • Suicide – any thoughts, comments or behaviors should be taken very seriously.  If your teen is talking about, writing about or making suicidal gestures you should seek professional help immediately. 

What To Do If You Think Your Teenager is Depressed:

As is stated in the beginning of this article, depression is usually very treatable and is usually treated through talk therapy, medication or a combination of the two.  If you suspect your teenager may be depressed, you should try to talk to them about it in a very nurturing and non-judgmental way and let them know you are there to support them.  It can be very powerful to validate their feelings and to just listen without trying to educate or lecture them.  They may know something is not right but not really understand what is going on inside them which can feel very scary and isolating.  Hopefully, you teenager will feel a sense of relief that they are able to talk about what they are experiencing, however, if they continue to deny that anything is wrong – don’t take their word for it.  It may be too scary or embarrassing for your teen to admit something is really wrong, however, as the parent you know your child and should trust your instincts.  It is best to get a professional opinion if you are truly feeling like something is wrong.

Your teen’s primary care doctor is qualified to do a depression screening and to rule out any other medical problems which may be causing the symptoms which are present.  If there is no medical cause, your doctor can refer you to a mental health specialist who can help you and your teen address the depression.

Talk therapy (counseling) with a licensed therapist or psychologist can be very important in helping individuals understand why they are depressed and in developing strategies for managing depressive feelings.  I have worked with many, many teenagers who are able to fully manage their symptoms of depression through talk therapy alone.  Depending on the circumstances of the depression, there can be noticeable results very quickly for both the teen and for those around them.  It is important that teens find a therapist whom they can connect with and open up to.  It is completely acceptable and appropriate for teens and parents to screen or interview a potential therapist to determine if the individual will be a good fit.

Medication (antidepressants) can also be effective for some individuals who are depressed.  The use of medication assists the brain in releasing chemicals which elevate an individual’s overall mood.  Parents looking for a medication consultation for their teenager should consider locating a child / adolescent psychiatrist since the use of medications for children and adolescents can be quite different from the use for adults.  As with all medications, there are risks and side effects when using antidepressants with teenagers so parents should ask about these when making any decisions about medication for their teen.  Remember, your and your teenager will ultimately make the decision whether medication will be used to help treat the depression so a consultation does not commit you to anything!  Unless there are serious safety issues at play – I generally advise starting with therapy which is often times all that is required in the treatment of depression.

Encouraging exercise and social activity is also very helpful for teens who are experiencing depression.  Many teens find art, journaling and yoga in addition to traditional sports helpful when feeling depressed.  I cannot stress enough how much any form of physical activity can be in the treatment of depression.

Parents who are dealing with a depressed child may feel very overwhelmed themselves as this can be a scary and uncertain time.  It is important that parents take care of themselves and tend to their own needs despite the significant needs of their teen.  Parents need their own support during this time if feeling overwhelmed whether this is the support of a friend or family member, a life coach or their own therapist.  In addition, most parents find it helpful to educate themselves about what is going on for their child.  This can be done through the internet, talking to a doctor or to their teen’s therapist, or through reading a book or two about depression.  It is also important for parents to not blame themselves or each other for their teenager’s depression (even if this is something that runs in their families which is often the case with depression).  Depression can be caused by many factors so it is unlikely that any one person or thing has caused the situation.  Remember, the good news is that most teens are able to feel better with professional support as well as with parental support and learning about depression is the first step towards getting your teen the help they may need.

If you are the parent of a teenager looking for additional support, go to How To Parent A Teen to see all of our coaching programs and products and to download your FREE Audio program titled:  3 Powerful Strategies For Parents Of Teenagers.

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