Teens and Depression
Adolescence can be wonderful experience for many teenagers. During this time, teens begin taking their grades more seriously, looking forward to going to college and getting a great job. They also like to assert more independence and become more interested in the opposite sex. But for many teenagers, the transition from childhood to adulthood can be a very difficult time. Depression is often the culprit. In fact, researchers state that one out of eight teenagers suffer from depression.
Why is your teenager depressed?
Your teenager may become depressed for many reasons. Genetics could be one reason your child is depressed. Children who grow up in homes in which their parents or siblings are depressed may grow up to become depressed adults. Another reason your child may be depressed is peer pressure. Your teenager may be hanging with the wrong crowd and doing things that are dangerous and that make them feel bad in an effort to fit in --- such as smoking, drinking, and having sex. Also, they may have difficulty making friends and could be the victim of bullying and verbal abuse by their peers. Many depressed teenagers live in a bad environment, homes where their parents are not getting along, or a home where there is little money coming into the house. Boredom is also a reason why your child may be depressed. They may simply need something else to do.
Sometimes children have an inaccurate idea about people and life in general. When they get out into the real world, there can be a major gap between what they believe and reality. As a result, they feel let down on a regular basis. For example, a young girl who thought that she would go to an ivory league school and get married barely pays her way through junior college and gets pregnant by her absentee boyfriend.
Signs that your teenager is depressed includes:
- gossiping on the telephone
- over eating or under eating
- slacking on doing household chores
- masturbating or becoming promiscuous
- abusing drugs and alcohol
- bullying others
- disrespecting authority figures
- dropping out of high school
- sleeping a lot
- spending long periods of time in their room
- turning up the volume on the stereo
- allowing their appearance to suffer
- choosing not to participate in family get togethers
What to do if your child is depressed?
Talk to your child about his or her life, wants, and needs. Let them know that their opinions matter and that they are important. Play an active role in their life. Go to ball games with them. Hang out with them at the mall.Talk to them about their bodies, relationships, and about life in general. Get them involved in activities and hobbies that are healthy and that they will enjoy. If your child continues to behave as if they are depressed, it may be necessary to talk to a therapist who may recommend treatment.