Can you spot them? It is not easy; yet with heightened senses and an open mind, you can see right through your teenager's heart.
Your teenager is an individual in his own right
Your baby is now grownup; yet not quite. Most of the times your teenage son or daughter disagrees with you. He or she is not anymore allowed to play and act like a child but he or she isn't allowed yet to do many of the things that are said to be for adults only. Add this fact to peer pressure and hormones and you've got a perfect recipe for teenage depression.
Being a teener is not easy, you've been there and done the "deeds" that now make you shake your head at the thought. Since you've passed the teenage stage uneventfully, you may think that your son or daughter would also do so and react to adversities in the same way as you do. Not quite.
Your teenage son or daughter is a different individual with a temperament that although it may resemble yours, does not make him or her just like you altogether. This means that he or she may react and decide differently with the same stressors that you have faced.
Spotting signs of teenage depression
Below are some actions or behaviors of a teenager that you may think of as just sulkiness normal to any teen, but may be telltale signs of teenage depression:
1. Sudden disregard for appearance or personal hygiene.
When a teenager suddenly looks shabby, doesn't want to take a shower even if his hair is already sticking to his head, and wears used and soiled clothes for school, it is one of the signs of teenage depression.
It is not that your teenage son or daughter prefers to look shabby; he is not anymore aware of his looks because his thoughts are preoccupied with depressing thoughts and personal hygiene and appearance become the least of his worries.
When this happens too suddenly, it is one of the signs of teenage depression. However, if this happens just once in a while and your teenage son or daughter still dresses up for school, he is just a normal teenager who gets lazy at times.
2. Sudden drop in grades.
Lackluster performance at school is one of the signs of a teenage depression especially if the trend was from up to down in a matter of weeks or a few months. This means that your teenage son or daughter is facing a difficult time, whether at home or at school, and this matter should be discussed with him or her. During a dialogue, don't go on the offensive since this will push your child away from you. Talk to your teenage son or daughter as though he is an adult and let him do more of the talking.
3. Change in appetite.
A teenager who goes into eating spree or suddenly went anorexic has some deep problems that aren't surfacing yet. If you notice change in appetite, observe first your teenage son or daughter's behavior and take the time to talk to him or her about the things that bother him or her.
If he declines, give him the space he needs and leave him alone for a few days. If nothing has changed after a few days, talk to him again and never accept a "no" answer for a dialogue. Ask in a kind way what's bothering his mind and tell him that no matter what, you are always there to assist him.
4. Deviant or destructive behavior.
If a teenager becomes too destructive to himself and to people around him, it doesn't mean that he is just a rebellious teenager. This is one of the signs of teenage depression and you should extend a hand for guidance and comfort. Don't be on the offensive when he sulks. Nor should you be on the defensive when he spites you.
5. Restless or agitated or sluggish.
A depressed teenager may be restless, can not keep himself in one place or is sluggish and prefers to stay home, sleep all day, eat a lot and do nothing. These are signs of teenage depression; and when you see these signs, better talk things out with your teenage son or daughter to understand his wants and needs.