One of the most challenging and worrisome experiences a parent will face is trying to understand what is going on in their teen’s life, especially when communication dynamics have changed due to the developmental phase of adolescence. Trying to distinguish normal teenage angst from more serious concerns like clinical depression is difficult and leave parents in fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. As a result, important conversations with teens are often avoided.
The good news is, with a few key talking points and a crash course in teen depression, it can be much less daunting. Take a look at a powerful video created by teens for parents called, “What I Wish My Parents Knew”. It is a short 10-minute video on what teens want parents to know about depression and how to best support their child.
Tips for Addressing Concerns of Depression with Your Teen
As a parent, trust your instincts. Parents often “feel” when there is something wrong. Don’t ignore that feeling, act on it. Begin documenting moods and behaviors that are out of character for your teen. Take a look at The Power of Addressing Depression for specific depression warning signs.
Next, talk to your child. Often bringing to light their recent change in behavior and giving examples lets your child know that you notice something is wrong, you’re concerned about it, and you believe they deserve to feel better. After that, really listen without interruption.
For more ideas for talking about depression with your child, take cues from our Parent Handbook on Childhood and Adolescent Depression, specifically pages 25-27. And always remember, help is right around the corner.