A close friend of mine relayed how her mom and dad reacted when she told them how she was suffering from severe depression at the age of 18. This young lady was a freshman living in the college dorms at the time, a couple of hours away from home. Her problems came from the fact that her parents want her to become a doctor, yet she hopes to pursue a career in music.
The first person she thought of revealing it to was her mother, hoping that she would understand. However, the answer that the friend got was, “What will our friends and relatives say if you don’t end up as a pediatrician? Get your license first, and then follow another path.” Hearing that crushed the teenage girl since it turned out that her mom worried about public opinion more than her mental state.
Luckily, her father had a different ideology. He merely said, “I don’t want to visit my daughter at an asylum. Do what you want.” That reply changed my friend’s life for the better, and she now has a band of her own, touring different cities 362 days a year.
The takeaway point from this anecdote is that while most parents are supportive of their children, many of them choose to be indifferent because they believe that will benefit the kids later. However, when depression is part of the equation – a mental disorder that kills 12.93 in every 10,000 individuals in the US – this behavior might lead to self-harming or, worse, suicide.
To avoid becoming the parent who pushed his or her teenage child deeper down the depression lane, you should take note of the things you should never do.
1. Think Of It As Overdramatization
“Many people mistakenly believe that if you can’t see it like you can a broken bone, it must be less significant and therefore can be overcome by simply using willpower. If not, they mistakenly believe that people who suffer from depression are weak,” says Simon Rego, PsyD. The absolute no-no is assuming that the youngster made up his or her mental condition. Teens have plenty of fun activities to get busy with generally; no one has time to fake brooding unless that is what they genuinely feel. If they sense that you think of the issue as overdramatization of what’s going on, it might depress them further.
2. Ignore The Problem
Getting confirmation from a mental health professional that your teenager indeed has depression entails that you cannot and should not make yourself believe that it’s nothing but a bad dream. You have to figure out the best way to aid and care for your troubled son or daughter. It is highly inadvisable to ignore the problem because that will worsen the situation.
3. Order Them How To Deal With It
Although it occurs inside the mind, depression is not something that you can coax out of anyone. The person who has it needs to take it a step at a time until he or she accepts that moping cannot alter the reality. You can be a great help, therefore, if you avoid coaching the teen on what to do and how whenever you get a chance. “Depression is a serious and tricky illness. Unfortunately, it can also go unrecognized for a long period of time” Dr. Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC. said.
4. Keep Them From Talking About The Disorder Publicly
Try not to be that mom or dad who shushes their kids when they want to speak up regarding their experience with depression. Not only do you stop them from exercising their freedom of expression, but doing so will also keep them from inspiring other youngsters to be open about their disorders.
5. Accept Every Treatment For The Teen Without Second Thought
“There are many effective treatments for depression that are available to you when you make the decision to get help for your depression.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC explains. Psychiatrists tend to recommend various remedies to treat – not cure – depression. Before you agree on giving medication to your teenage son or daughter, however, you should find out if non-invasive psychotherapy will suffice even without drugs. This way, he or she won’t suffer from the side effects of antidepressants.
6. Offer Zero Breathing Space
Lastly, remember that depressed folks already feel suffocated in their own heads. If you always get on your child’s face in hopes that it will change something inside him or her, it can merely pressure the poor kid further.
Everyone can develop depression. It is not a mental illness that you can only acquire once you reach a particular age. To help your teenager overcome it, you should avoid doing the things mentioned above.