One of the duties of any good parent is to keep abreast of your child’s mental health. Seeing your child struggle with depression is heartbreaking. Fortunately, your love and guidance can help them to find the tools to deal with this mental health issue. Here are three things that you can do to help your child if they are struggling with depression.
Help Them Realize They’re Not Alone
Depression in adolescents is more common than you might think. About 12.5 percent of teens have experienced depression or struggle with it. The most frightening thing about depression is that it can be hard to recognise, especially in teenagers who are prone to extreme mood swings anyway. As a parent, it is your job to continually reassure your child that they are not alone. By acknowledging their emotional struggles and validating their feelings, they will know that you are on their side in this battle and that will help with their feelings of self-isolation.
Be Willing to Listen
Sometimes what a child needs most is for someone to just listen. While it is tempting to want to swoop in and fix every problem, it is often most helpful if you simply listen to their worries. You can help if you realize that your advice is not always the thing that your child needs. Spending quality time with your child lays the groundwork for them to feel as if they can speak freely with you about anything.
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
Physical and mental health go together hand in hand. It has been proven that exercise can significantly reduce depression levels, often even proving more beneficial than traditional medicine. You can help your child by encouraging them to get out and move their bodies. Nourishing the body with healthy foods will also go a long way in helping them to be able to cope with stress. Lastly, it is important to make sure that your teen is getting enough sleep every night. Sleep deprivation has been shown to aggravate the symptoms of depression. Sticking with a consistent bedtime routine will help you to support this goal.
Navigating this journey with your child through the depths of depression is no easy feat. However, with the right approach and a lot of love, you can be the number one source of support for your child.
If you enjoyed this article, here’s another one you might find helpful: How to Help Your Teen Through Their First Taste of Heartbreak