Withdrawal is one of the signs of teenage depression…
What are other symptoms of teenage depression?
We all know that adolescence can be a tumultuous time. Many changes occur simultaneously and it can be difficult to cope with all of them successfully. Your child may not understand why they are feeling the way they are. Teenage anxiety is common and can lead to depression.
Trying to break away from parental authority, feeling unable to control their lives and self-destructive behaviour also cause anxiety.
Unconscious guilt is often a theme in adolescents, says one expert.
They unwittingly blame themselves for bad things that have happened in the family, such as divorce or death. Signs of teen depression involving guilt may manifest as rebellion or withdrawal.
Problems at school, such as poor performance, absenteeism and discipline issues can also point to anxiety.
Watch for these signs of teenage depression:
- Withdrawal from friends, family, hobbies, sports and other activities
- Depressed mood
- Worsening school performance
- Decreased energy and/or motivation
- Anger, irritability or rage
- Being very sensitive (possibly overreacting) to criticism
- Poor self-esteem or guilt
- Decreased concentration, difficulty making decisions
- Changes in sleep or eating habits
- Suicidal thoughts
My Personal Tips
As they say… Been there, Done that!
I have two wonderful adult kids (in their ’30’s), and enjoy them immensely. But it wasn’t always a smooth road to get through the teen years – we all had our bumpy moments…
Here are some things that helped me:
- Always remember that adolescent behaviour is age appropriate. It is not abnormal and necessarily deliquent for teens to be anxious, rude or grumpy. That does not mean you musn’t take signs of teenage depression seriously but rudeness etc won’t be there forever. It is normal and it does pass.
- Always let them know that you love them. This helped me so much! It reminded me that I needed to let ‘love’ be my main emotion towards them. And it reminded them that, despite antisocial behavior (which is unacceptable), they were always loved (and still are).
- Always keep talking. Communication is so vital for emotions to be heard and voiced. For them and for me. I found that I needed to let them have their say without judgement or comment sometimes. The process of keeping communicating is more important than who has the last say, or even what is said. Remember, it new territory for both of you.
- Always keep listening. You need to listen both to what is being said andhow it is being said. Empathetic listening is so important if you are to pick up signs of teenage depression.
- Learn to detach. You can’t act efficiently if you are in a whirlwind of emotions.
- Make sure that you have your emotions under control. Your teens need you to be stable, firm amd calm. I found that using a simple breathing exercise to bring my stress response under control really helped me to stay calm in the moment. I also found that practising mindful awareness really helped me to see the ‘bigger picture’. You need a tactic to get you out of panic mode!
- Remember that the relationship is worth fighting for. I needed to remind myself that it wasn’t a battle for supremacy – I was the adult and they were trying to grow up. I didn’t need to prove myself to be right all the time. You can come to the end of the teen years and be good friends with your kids. Still the parent, but friends nevertheless.
- Be firm about boundaries. It helped me to remember that I was entitled, even expected, to set rules. Certain behaviour, certain friends, certain substances were not allowed in my home. Once I set those boundaries for them and for myself, it helped not to have to renegotiate every time a situation arose. It also helped my teenager to feel secure. Someone was taking control of a world that felt out-of-control.
- My mantra during those years… “This too shall pass – the good and the bad”.
Share Your Thoughts
Do you have any words of wisdom about signs of teenage depression or coping with the teen years?
Any personal comments?
Any advice from a grandparent, sibling or teacher?
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We can all learn from each other.
- The Anxiety Cure for Kids: A Guide for Parents
- The Good Teen: Rescuing Adolescence from the Myths of the Storm and Stress Years
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