Want to know how to help a child with depression? Surprisingly enough there isn’t much you can or should do.
Childhood depression is a common enough problem these days to not be considered special.
All of us have our “depressed” days, going through some blues and all of that, yet depression isn’t quite like that.
Depression is persistent, it sticks, and that’s very noticeable in children, mainly because kids don’t handle it quite as well as adults.
They have a much more difficult time hiding just how bad they are feeling, maybe they just don’t want to.
Kids are needy by their very nature.
But do the need you specifically?
Sure, you might be either parent, a guardian or a teacher, and you might be looking for specific answers, actions to take, yet as you will find there is only so much you can do.
Not for a lack of trying mind you, but depression is a journey of mindset, and you can only influence a mindset from the sidelines.
What are the symptoms of childhood depression?
Truth be told, they don’t vary all that much from the general symptoms of depression, but they also include some of the following:
- Increased fear of rejection
- Sudden outbursts
- Physical symptoms that don’t have anything to do with illness
These are specific symptoms which apply to childhood depression only, for more symptoms click right here.
Alright, so what causes childhood depression?
I hear you ask this question already.
My way to deal with anxiety and depression is to find the source of the problem and to eliminate it.
The first thing that you need to do is to recognize that depression is an illness, it’s not something he can control or snap out of on a whim.
It’s a genuine disease, and much like any other disease, there is a specific route you should take to have it cured.
But what causes it?
- Parental neglect – I would like to assume that if you are a parent and you are reading this that you care for your child and wish to help him/her.
Yet none of us are above being judged on our methods, and as such even parents who really want to help their children aren’t above neglect.
Whether you are distant or just aren’t there, this one is on you.
- Overbearing parenting – Being pressed by your parents, who are simply too controlling, sucks away the life out of you. Children are carefree creatures in their very nature. As such, being too controlling of them would not only depress them but also hinder their growth.
- Unstable environment – Arguments between parents, bullying in school and overall lack of positive reinforcement can lead a child to depression.
Keep in mind, these are specific reasons for childhood depression. General reasons, like negative thoughts, are not being counted in this list.
As I said before, there are very little specific actions you could take to ensure that you child, any child, overcomes his/her depression.
But every single one of those actions may have a huge impact.
But what are those actions, to begin with? Well…
1) Don’t be a terrible parent
Now, I know that parents can’t be blamed for everything that ever happens to their children.
Neglect might be the result of long working hours.
Overbearing behavior may be the result of a genuine desire to help.
Aggressive actions towards your children might be interpreted by you as good parenting.
Heck, for all I know this is your style of parenting, or maybe you are just forced into this style of parenting by circumstances.
All is well and good, but there is one thing you need to do.
Don’t be a terrible parent. Seriously.
I know you might want to have an awesome career, make a lot of money and live life on the highest quality you can achieve.
But honestly? You only need so much money.
Not only do you burn hundreds of hours in the office, but after a certain level of income is achieved you aren’t even improving your emotional well-being in the first place.
Spend time with your children, and let them make their decisions – doing otherwise would take away from their independence.
You might think that whatever is happening in their life right now is important, yet you need to realize that childhood is the only time in life where mistakes are actively meaningless.
Actions have consequences, but a child’s actions are of so little consequence that nothing they may do will be meaningful in the long run.
Sure, they might fail a test.
Get into fights.
Don’t listen to their teachers.
But when push comes to shove none of these things are really all that important.
Sure, you may wish to discipline them, and that’s very reasonable, but if it comes to the point where you practically write them down a schedule then you have a problem.
Seriously, avoid these obvious mistakes and you will already make a major improvement in the child’s condition, be you a teacher, a parent, or some other concerned person.
2) Create a safe environment and make it stick
Issues at school
If a child has a problem in school, transferring him to another school might solve it.
It also might not do a thing to change the issue at hand.
You see, if your child is being bullied there is a fundamental reason for that, something in the child’s behavior makes him a target for bullying.
Sure, you might say that there is just this one bunch of mean kids, but how do you know that in the other school there won’t be the same issue?
The way we act is the way other people see us. Developing healthy habits to ensure that the child won’t be an easy target is one way to deal with the situation.
Another thing you might do is to make sure that the child you care for is not the victim, and stop him from being bullied by either his peers or teachers.
Yeah, I said teachers.
In my experience, they and their method for assisting suffering students are terrible, they will bully the child with threats and punishments, often times just as much as the child’s peers.
A recent SAFE survey shows that in up to 85% of all cases teachers don’t make any attempt to stop bullies.
If anything, they will likely pin the fault on both you and the bully.
It’s easier to come up with an excuse to put in front of a helpless child than to actually resolve the situation.
Besides, if said child tries to say anything that you don’t like you can outrage over his insolence.
Sounds like the perfect plan!
Teachers don’t care for their students, some teachers are bullies themselves.A bully is a child, and with a childish mindset, he will be able to exploit the gray area of the rules, enough to annoy the teacher into giving up on him entirely.
And when the child tries to fight back he is suddenly put on the spot.
This mistake is far too common, and it leads to children not feeling secure at school.
Do yourself a huge favor and ignore whatever teachers have to say about your kid, most teachers are subjective reporters who can’t be bothered with issues like these, especially since the have at least 20 more kids to deal with.
Instead, you should stand behind the kid.
If someone bullies him/her, tell them to punch that idiot in the face, and any “disciplinary action” taken against them can go to hell.
If he/she has an argument with a teacher, don’t hesitate to take your son’s/daughter’s side if you think that they are right.
This means more than you would know – and it’s the only way to create honest security.
Trouble on the home-front
Don’t argue with your kid.
Don’t be hostile, don’t be intolerant, don’t be overly-violent.
A divorce might put some strain, being distant might really put them down, yet none of these factors are absolute.
What do I mean by that?
Feeling safe is all about being able to come home and know that you are being watched and surrounded with positive energy and approval.
You can’t always be positive and approve of everything, yet an atmosphere is something that is built over time, not suddenly.
Avoid speaking ill of your Ex-husband/wife and make sure your child can fully expand their limits. Make them feel as though their home is a place free of judgment, where they can expand and grow.
The school is a system, their home shouldn’t be.
And that’s all there is to it.
3) Get help together
All in all, the real problem here is a lack of communication and safety.
You child becomes abnormally edgy, to the point where they can’t seem to find any sense in anything that they are doing.
Your issues may vary, and us such I would recommend getting down to the bottom of the entire issue.
Sure, you could just as them, but children are normally bad at identifying what makes them feel bad in the first place.
Heck, we all are.
People repress bad memories, even on a smaller scale.
Don’t believe me? You might have gotten overly drunk after a party and have promised yourself to never do that again.
Yet when the next party comes up you end up in the very same situation – stupidly drunk and cursing your won idiocy.
As such, I believe that getting guidance is the way to go.
More than that, I believe that this is a process you should go through as a family.
Why? A few reasons;
- You might be a part of the problem, so this “help” may apply to you as well.
- Going to a therapist together is a way to support the child
- The therapist will be able to notice and assess family dynamics much better if all family members are present.
So really, get on with it!
Final thoughts and conclusions
Like I said before, there is only very little you can do to help your child with his/hers depression.
Yet whatever you can do is extremely meaningful.
Support your child over all others and make sure that they have a safe environment to thrive and grow in.
Easier said than done, right? Either way, I gave you a few pointers that you might find extremely valuable.
I am not an expert, yet I am talking based on both research and experience, of both myself and others.
My advice is simple enough, apply it and over time you will notice improvements. If you don’t, go to an expert and tell him what you have done thus far.
So while you do that, here’s a quick question to think about – what was the last thing you talked about with the kid you want to help?
Make sure to write your answers in the comment section below, I read every single one of them!
If you got any personal question you would like to ask me then make sure to send me an email.
I reply to every email that I get, so you really got nothing to lose!