Parents have to prepare for dealing with the problems their children encounter on the road to adulthood. One problem, which is the development of depression, represents one of the major obstacles some children face. According to a study released in 2016, nearly 13 percent of American adolescents had at least one episode of depression.
Parents need to understand the warning signs of depression, and then take steps such as child therapy to address the negative mental health condition with a sense of urgency.
What Are the Most Common Signs of Childhood Depression?
Adolescents go through several life changes, which makes it difficult to detect the signs of depression. However, an abrupt mood swing from a typically optimistic child to a child that suddenly withdraws can be a strong sign of depression. A sudden withdrawal can be caused by several factors, such as hopelessness, low self-esteem, and lack of interest. A dramatic decline in academic performance is also another sign of childhood depression. Drastic changes in eating patterns and open discussions about death and/or suicide should be the alarm that motivates parents to seek help from a licensed and certified therapist.
Getting Help from Child Therapy Sessions
Child therapy conducted by a licensed and certified therapist offers troubled adolescents several benefits they cannot receive by seeking help in other types of mental health formats. First, confidentiality is required for child therapy, which means nobody but the child, the child’s parents, and the therapist knows about the sessions. Second, visiting with a therapist allows a child to discuss issues the child might not ordinarily discuss, especially when it comes to discussing tough issues with one or both parents. Third, child therapy represents a highly effective strategy for encouraging adolescents to discover the root causes of depression. Finally, a therapist can discover if a patient is fulfilling childhood expectations.
Provide Emotional Support
Living with depression can turn into a life-threatening condition unless a child receives support from parents and members of the child’s village that includes cousins and grandparents. Spend time with your child and encourage open conversations, without applying pressure. Honesty is by far the best policy when discussing difficult emotional issues with an adolescent. Violating a child’s trust is a surefire way to close communication channels. Listen to what your child has to say and resist the temptation to offer advice.
Undergoing family therapy might help you develop the listening skills you need to connect with your child.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Mental and physical health are interconnected, which means you can improve the mental health of a child by encouraging a physically healthy lifestyle. Depression for members of all age groups often leads to a sedentary lifestyle. Set the example by exercising regularly and encouraging your child to do the same. You can go on hikes and bicycle rides together, as well as take a weekly exercise class. Eating healthy foods bolsters nutrient intake, which plays a significant role in improving mental health.
Helping a child overcome depression should be your primary focus until the symptoms dissipate. The first step on the road to recovery is to schedule a child therapy session to determine how to help an adolescent who suffers from depression.