Teen Depression (cont.)
What can parents do to alleviate teen depression?
Parenting teens can be very challenging. There are, though, some effective
parenting and communication techniques you can use to help lower the stress
level for your teenager:
- When disciplining your teen, replace shame and punishment with positive
reinforcement for good behavior. Shame and punishment can make an adolescent
feel worthless and inadequate.
- Allow your teenager to make mistakes. Overprotecting or making decisions
for teens can be perceived as a lack of faith in their abilities. This can make
them feel less confident.
- Give your teen breathing room. Don't expect teens to do exactly as you say
all of the time.
- Do not force your teen down a path you wanted to follow. Avoid trying to
relive your youth through your teen's activities and experiences.
- If you suspect that your teen is depressed, take the time to listen to his
or her concerns. Even if you don't think the problem is of real concern,
remember that it may feel very real to someone who is growing up.
- Keep the lines of communication open, even if your teen seems to want to
- Try to avoid telling your teen what to do. Instead, listen closely and you
may discover more about the issues causing the problems.
If you feel overwhelmed or unable to reach your teen, or if you continue to
be concerned, seek help from a qualified health care professional.
Can't teen depression go away without medical treatment?
Teen depression tends to come and go in episodes. Once a teenager has one
bout of depression, he or she is likely to get depressed again at some point.
The consequence of letting teen depression go untreated can be extremely
serious, even deadly.
WebMD Medical Reference
National Institute of Mental Health: "What is Depression?"
Food and Drug Administration: "The Lowdown on Depression."
Mental Health America: "Factsheet: Depression in Teens."
Medline Plus: "Adolescent Depression."
ParentsMedGuide.org: "The Use of Medication in Treating Childhood and Adolescent Depression: Information for Patients and Families."
SAMHSA: "Major Depression in Children and Adolescents."
Medline Plus: "Teen Mental Health."
American Psychiatric Association, Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depression, 2000.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Pub, 2000.
Fieve, R. Bipolar II, Rodale Books, 2006.
Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 12, 2012
Reviewed on 2/12/2012
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