At Revive Family we have a heart for kids struggling with depression. the impacts upon the family is significant especially since it is so hard to understand if you have not experienced it yourself.
Unfortunately we are encountering more kids at younger ages struggling with depression in our coaching. Today about 20 percent of adolescents will experience clinical levels of depression before they reach adulthood. (Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General). Many more suffer symptoms of depression.
In Revive Family’s research and coaching of parents and adolescents we have found that the lack of true understanding of depression on the part of parents can limit the ability of youth to escape depression. Having experienced depression, I know first hand how the attempts to help made by people who do not understand depression can leave a depressed person feeling both more down on themselves and more trapped within it.
Understanding and giving credence to a youth’s lack of motivation or desire to do anything is essential rather than pressuring him/her to get moving. Such pressure will only add to their sense of falling short and failure. Listening, encouraging, and sharing, rather than telling them that the way they see themselves is not right or giving correction, allows youth to hear themselves and begin to assess their thoughts. When they ask, “What do you think?” give them positive feedback.
In many of the adolescents’ struggling with significant depression, whom we have coached, we have found that one of the roots of their depression stemmed from a collapse of their internal belief in themselves and their abilities. They had become so negative internally about themselves that it altered their perspective of everything around them. Any youth who is encountering significant signs of depression should seek the help of their physician and or psychiatrist who can prescribe medications. One question we like to ask when meeting with youth is if they feel a pressure or a physical ache in their chest. Often depression manifests itself with just such an ache. At times it can be so significant that people have gone to the hospital believing they are having a heart attack.
As parents you can do a great deal to help your child address their depression. Change your focus from performance to what is really going on inside and make a shift from external pressure to perform to targeting their internal beliefs and desires. While this is something we recommend and encourage parents to do with every child, it is critical with those who are depressed. This approach allows for more open and real communication and gives parents access to tap the discouragement that can build up within their kids often without any indication.
Tap discouragement by giving your adolescent a safe place to dump and evaluate it. Draw close through understanding. Listen, encourage and help them process the things that have become an energy drain within. This approach will greatly help your adolescent escape depression. All children want to please their parents. When youth come to the conclusion that this is not possible, depression may occur. Depressed youth need to once again feel close and connected to their parents.
Today more than ever our adolescents need to feel heard, understood, believed in and trusted. Understanding this and targeting the internals rather than the behavior and performance are at the heart of Revive Family’s Influential Parenting. Learn more by watch our free webcast today and consider taking the Influential Parenting Online Class in easy to digest 10 to 12 minute modules.