Children and Depression !
As parents, we are often worried about our children’s safety. We usually worry about situations that are spread across the spectrum of injuries that are humanly possible for a child to suffer. For example, we constantly worry if our child has fallen of their bike and suffered a scrape on their knee, whether their friends are good influences, their eyesight when they watch television to the really dangerous scenarios we fantasize about such as kidnapping or accidents on their way to school. We, however, fail to watch out for the deadly killer in our child lives that often comes unannounced and hides without a trace for us to follow. Depression. We have duties as parents to protect our children, to strengthen them, provide all the necessary tools to be upstanding citizens. Along these remarkable life lessons, we should be also nurturing them to be mentally strong to open their feelings to us and vision us as their safe space. Depression can have many signs and symptoms and often none at all. One would usually be reminded to look for changes in their child’s moods- is he/she increasingly sad? Reclusive? Silent? Crying? Often our children can appear as their normal self and hide the war waging inside their minds rather impressively. So what can we do? 1.Create a Space with Warmth, Care, Love, and Unwavering Support. Proper parental support is allowing your child to open up to you without discounting their feelings as invalid. Try asking your child openended questions that allow them to describe the event or feelings rather than a simple yes or no answer. Avoid trying to correct your child’s emotions and instead focusing on listening and providing encouragement and positivity. This allows your child to vent to their biggest supporter while learning to engage in their emotions to be a stronger individual. 2.Teach and Practice Emotional Strength Your child has learnt almost everything in this world through his or her parents. They have learnt to walk, to mitigate arguments, to compromise, to develop relationships, and most importantly deal with anger and disappointment through you. By encouraging the practice of mindfulness, parents can teach their children the importance of recognizing consequences of their actions on others. Additionally, when faced with an aggravating situation practicing mindfulness and calmness in your response your child can learn responding to stressful situations with strength and not relying on drugs, alcohol, or other destructive behavior. 3.Encourage and Facilitate Positive Relationships Humans are social animals and we need people around us to lead a positive and healthy life. Encourage your children to form friendships with their friends in school or extracurricular activities. By exposing your children to peers, you give them the tool to assess how others are progressing in life and options which they can make for themselves. Taking risks and facing challenges is the key to becoming an emotionally strong individual. Try not to control your children and managing their relationships. 4.Encourage your Children to do Better no matter what THAT is Parents in most communities are guilty of forcing their children to follow a set map of success that has been fed down through generations as the ultimate formula to be happy. Becoming a doctor, lawyer, or banker is not the key to a happy life, but may be for some people. Encourage your children to practise arts, sciences, activities, or anything else they might show inclination towards. There is no “one solution fits all” for battling teens with depression or mental health issues but we can play a big part as the catalyst for it or medicine for our children. Always rememberthey need to know you love them and want only the best for them. Sometimes this might be best conveyed through putting ourselves in our teen bodies and reminding ourselves how this approach would feel if done by our parents.