Parenting is hard…and so is being a kid, especially in today’s world. It’s no secret that we are facing a mental health crisis in our country and that our children are suffering. Depending on the study one looks at, the statistics will vary on how much the rates of teen depression and suicidal ideation have increased, but all agree that these rates have risen drastically since the early 2000s. If your child is showing signs of depression—withdrawal, irritability, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness—be intentional about addressing these concerns with your child:
- Speak to your child about why you are concerned and be specific about what you have noticed in their behavior
- Refrain from making judgments or emotionally-heightened statements when having these conversations, but instead speak calmly.
- Listen well. If your child is willing to engage in this conversation, it is critical that you pay attention to what they are saying. Allow them the space to speak, and then ask clarifying questions. Do not try to tell them they are wrong or to convince them to see or feel differently. This invalidates their experiences and will increase the likelihood that they will not open up about their struggles again later.
- Ask them in a straightforward manner if they have had thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
If you have concerns about your child’s emotional well-being, consider seeking help from a licensed professional. Most children will show resistance to therapy. That’s okay. The choice to get help is not always easy, but it is worth it.
If you are a parent seeking information about whether your child needs therapy, contact our office and we would be happy to discuss your options with you. Remember, help is available.