How to Help your Child Overcome Depression
Depression is not something that we just shrug our shoulders off.
It’s a serious condition that our child can be in and if remain untreated, it could lead to more serious problems such as chronic fatigue, low performance at school and poor social relationship among peers.
How can you tell if your child is depressed?
The symptoms vary amongst children, but the most common ones are social withdrawal, change in sleep and appetite, anger or irritability, difficulty concentrating, vocal outbursts or crying and continuous feeling of hopelessness and sadness.
As a parent, we play the most critical role in recognizing these symptoms and helping them get through the phase of depression.
Below are some of the tips on how you help your child overcome depression.
- Talk to your child about his feelings
Depressed children often feel that they are alone in this world and no one cares about them. That’s why they either try to hide their feelings or release it through other outlets such as excessive online games.
As a parent, you should make it a point to let your child know that you have their back and that they can tell you everything. Communication is important so ask your child how he feels or how his day was. Have a sit with your child and talk about the feelings and thoughts that he’s having.
- Do your homework
We can’t treat a situation or condition well if we don’t know what it is.
Depression could mean sudden blues to some; however it is a complex phase that needs to be looked at carefully. For us to help our child who is undergoing depression, it is important that we understand what depression really is, its causes and possible side effects.
The internet provides endless resources about depression. You can also join online communities of parents who are undergoing the same problem.
- Encourage your child to socialize
One of the most common symptoms of children that are depressed is social withdrawal. They build walls and isolate themselves. They lost interest in making friends, or even just socializing.
Help your child to socialize with peers. Ask his interests and encourage him to join a school club. If he likes music and playing instruments, joining a school music ensemble would be a great way for him to practice his skills and open up to others.
- Help kids identify coping skills
Since children have not reached the emotional maturity, they still have a hard time managing their emotions. That’s the reason why when the situation gets stressful or frustrating for them, they throw tantrums or have a public outburst.
Children that are under depression are struggling with self-control. Below are some of the ways that you can help your child develop their coping skills:
- Give words to feelings
- Identify your child’s triggers
- Calm your child down by sticking to things or activities that she likes
- Be understanding and present
- If needed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help
- Motivate them to exercise daily
An active child is a happier child.
Several studies found that having a regular exercise helps adults fight depression, and now new research indicates the same effect of exercise to depressed kids.
Many doctors are hesitant to prescribe anti-depressant medication to children; hence exercise serves as a safe and healthy alternative.
Depression limits the productivity of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters which is why depressed kids have difficulty adapting to new situations. Having a regular exercise boosts the brain, resulting to a mood boost.
Having a regular physical routine, such as exercise on a rowing machine for your child’s health, will help them get over depression blues.
- Schedule an appointment with a doctor
Depression is not something to be ashamed of. This is a real situation that our kids can go through. Seek all the help that you can get, including that of a medical professional.
Look for the best doctor in your area and schedule your kid for an appointment.
- Give them everyday task to keep them busy
Being active and busy can help your kid overcome depression. Give him daily tasks, such as cleaning his room, walking the dog out, feeding the pets, etc.
Being productive would not only help them forget sadness and depression but would also teach them how to be responsible.
Let your child feel that he is not alone in fighting depression. Show them the love and all the help that he needs to get through this.