As a parent, seeing your teenager struggling with depression can be heartbreaking. You may feel helpless and unsure of what to do to support them. While it is essential to seek professional help, there are also things that you can do at home to support your teenager. Many parents find the following strategies helpful in dealing with their teenager’s depression.
1. Show them that you love them unconditionally
Your teenager needs to know that you love them no matter what. This can be difficult to do when they behave in harmful or disruptive ways, but it is crucial to maintain this mindset. They need to know that you will still be there for them when they are ready to talk or get help.
Telling them you love them is a good start, but showing them through your actions is also essential. Spend time with them, even if it is just sitting in the same room and not talking. Let them know that you are there for them and support them. Many teenagers feel alone and isolated, so your presence can make a huge difference.
2. Encourage positive self-talk
One way you can help your teenager is by encouraging them to engage in positive self-talk. This means reframing their negative thoughts into something more positive. For instance, if they say, “I’m so stupid,” you can help them reframe this thought by saying, “You made a mistake, but that doesn’t make you a bad person. Everyone makes mistakes.”
Positive self-talk can be difficult to learn, especially if you struggle with negative thinking. However, many resources are available to help you and your teenager learn to engage in positive self-talk. You can take mental health courses focusing on this topic or read self-help books together. These courses and books can provide the tools you need to help your teenager reframe negative thoughts.
3. Help them find healthy coping mechanisms
Encourage your teenager to find healthy ways to cope with their emotions instead of turning to alcohol, drugs, or other harmful behaviors. Some healthy coping mechanisms include exercise, journaling, and spending time outdoors. You can help your teenager by finding activities that you can do together, such as going for walks or bike rides.
But it is also essential to let them know it is okay to feel sad or angry sometimes. It is normal to have these emotions, and they should not try to bottle them up. This can lead to more harmful coping mechanisms, such as cutting or binge eating. Help them find ways to express their emotions healthily.
4. Be a good role model
One of the best things you can do for your teenager is to be a good role model. This means taking care of your own mental health, managing stress in healthy ways, and maintaining a positive outlook. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is vital to seek professional help. This will benefit you and set an excellent example for your teenager as they fight their negative thoughts.
You should also avoid putting too much pressure on yourself or your teenager. This can be a difficult balance to strike, but it is essential to remember that everyone is different and that there is no perfect solution. Do your best to support your teenager while also taking care of yourself. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
5. Seek professional help
If you are concerned about your teenager’s mental health, it is crucial to seek professional help. This could mean making an appointment with their doctor or a therapist. If you are unsure where to start, many resources are available online or through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
You can also call a crisis hotline in your area. These hotlines are staffed by trained professionals who can help you assess the situation and figure out the best course of action. Making the decision to seek professional help can be difficult, but it is often the best thing you can do for your teenager. If you are unsure whether or not to seek help, you can always call a hotline for guidance.
It can be hard for parents to watch their children suffer from depression. But you can do a few things to ease their pain with your support. It is essential to show them unconditional love, encourage positive self-talk, help them find healthy coping mechanisms, and seek professional help if needed. Remember, you are not alone in this – many resources are available to help you and your family through this tough time.