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Is Your Teen Depressed? Here's What You Should Do. By Jade Robinson

Copyright Š 2012 by

Are you concerned your teen is depressed? Have you noticed that they aren't acting themselves and seem really down? It's important that you step in and not only share that you care, but also that you can support them through this stage. The first thing you will need to do in order to help your teen is to decide whether you really think they are suffering from depression or merely just having a bad day/week. There are some common signs of depression that might allude to the fact that your teenager is suffering from depression, these include your teen: •

Feeling overwhelmed by sadness or helplessness

Being irritable, hostile or angry

Withdrawn from friends and family

Becoming less interested in activities

Significant changes in sleeping or eating habits

Sudden changes in academic performance

Lacking enthusiasm and energy

Struggling to concentrate

Having suicidal thoughts

Dramatically losing or gaining weight

If your teen is showing any of these signs or symptoms, or especially if they are showing a combination of them, they might be suffering from depression. It's important to realize that there is nothing wrong with going through a phase of depression and that most teenagers have a brief period of depression, but it can be quite harmful to self esteem and relationships so it is important to help your teen through it.

The First Thing You Should do If you think your teenager might have depression you will have to set aside some time to talk to them about it. Most teens get into moods, and it's best to choose a time as neutral as possible to discuss it with them. Be careful not to ambush them or make them feel guilty for their feelings; simply mention that you have noticed that they are not acting themselves and that you are concerned they might be feeling a little down. Depression often has an undeserved stigma, so it's important you keep things as neutral as possible so that your teen doesn't feel bad if they are feeling down.

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The most important thing you need to do with a teen that is showing signs of depression is to listen. Many parents will find that their teens won't want to talk, especially when they're feeling down, so the best way to get around this is to work on building communication in your home. How to Talk to a Depressed Teen First and foremost you must offer support, let your depressed teen know that you're there for them, totally and unconditionally. Try not to ask too many questions as it might come across as nosey or invasive and teens do not like to feel crowded. Make it clear to your teen that you're ready and wanting to help whenever they need it. You will have to approach gently, while still being persistent. It's likely that your first attempt to talk to your teen will not result in much, but slowly over time you should see your teen opening up more. You need to respect your teen and ensure that you are not making them uncomfortable while still regularly approaching the subject. Avoid lecturing your teen or offering too much advice, in the beginning especially you should focus on listening to them and allowing them to get some things off their chest. The last thing your teen wants or need, especially when they're feeling down is to feel even worse. Tread with caution and ensure that you do everything you can to preserve your relationship with your teen. Validate their feelings and let them know it's okay to feel down sometimes, but ensure that they know how to get themselves out of it, too. Everyone goes through patches and it's normal not to be happy all the time, but when your feelings start to negatively impact other areas of your life that's when you need to step in. "Has your teenager suffered from depression before? What did you find helped most?" Jade Robinson has more than 18 years of experience working with Teens and adolescents. Using his experience, he has developed a system (called Home Contract) that allows parents to easily set up new boundaries and rules with their teens. It is an ideal and effective way to improve a particular habit by implementing a home based parenting contract. More details at HomeContract.Org

Copyright Š 2012 by

Is Your Teen Depressed? Here's What You Should do  

"Has your teenager suffered from depression before? What did you find helped most?"

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