Teenage depression is very common among kids today. Parents play an important role in helping their teen to overcome depression by learning to identify the signs and symptoms. One of the best things parents can do to help their teen is to keep a good line of communication open. Simply talking to your teen about what they are dealing with can be a tremendous help. If you are already dealing with the challenge of a depressed teenager, then it’s critical to know how to talk to your teen.
Talk to Your Teen by Learning to Listen
As parents, we sometimes think that what we have to say is the most important thing to be communicated to a teenager. Well, try and think back to your days as a teenager and look at this from that perspective. You probably wanted someone who would stop all the long lecturing and just listen to you. Why should your teenager be any different than you were?
Listening is an acquired skill and it may take some time to master it. But listening is just what you must do if you’re going to communicate effectively with your teen. Make a point to not interrupt them or downplay what they are saying – especially when they are talking about how they feel. Never react to what they are saying with facial, verbal, or even non-verbal cues like rolling your eyes or sighing loudly. Don’t even try to reassure them at this point. Just listen.
Questions Are the Next Step in the Listening Process
Learn to ask questions that will help you understand what a depressed teen is saying. Never ask them why they did something or why they feel a certain way. Teens are famous for knowing how they feel and will readily tell you this. Why they feel a certain way is a complete mystery to them so don’t ask. Acknowledging that you can see how they feel is also important.
Don’t be Afraid to Talk About Getting Help
So, your teen has finished venting and has told you as much as they can. You have listened to your teen and you fully understand what they are feeling, it’s time to move on to the next step in the process. It’s time to take control as a parent and reassure them that it’s OK to feel these things for a time. Let them know that things can get better and that there are things that can be done to make that happen. Sometimes that needs a change in schedule, help in making other friends, or finding some new activities in which to participate. If this doesn’t seem to help, it may be time to seek professional help.
Finally, don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about depression. Sometimes talking is just the right thing to do as a first step in getting help. Do not be ashamed of getting help or afraid of what other people may think about your situation. It may seem that some folks might make you feel bad for needing or wanting to get help. Don’t let that stop you. The important thing here is getting help for your child, not what others may think of you.
Communicating With Your Depressed Child
Communicating With Teens