What to Do When A Child Seems Depressed
Every parent wants the best for their child. When your child portrays signs of depression, it can be devastating primarily because of the myths and misconceptions surrounding depression. But the good news is depression is manageable and treatable.
Here are some of the ways you can support your child if they seem depressed
Consult a Psychologist
Seeking clinical advice can be very effective. A psychologist will help you know how to deal with your child’s symptoms and offer psychotherapy for both you and your child, which is vital in helping your child work through negative feelings.
A standard method is offering cognitive behavioral therapy that can be used together with medication such as antidepressants.
Like all anti-medication, depressants have side effects such as agitation, hostility, restlessness, impulsive behavior. They may also trigger anxiety.
Create a Safe Space
When a child shows symptoms of depression, it is healthy to create a safe environment for them to talk and share their feelings with you as a parent. Sometimes creating a conducive environment where a child feels supported and understood can help them recover from a depressed state.
Spending more time with your child can also help build trust and have more honest and open conversations regularly. To avoid nagging them unconsciously, you can give them some alone time.
Changing Their Lifestyle
You do not want to make it so apparent that you are changing their lifestyle. To create a smooth transition, make it a gradual process.
Start by getting your child involved in some activities such as exercising if they are inactive. Physical activities can reduce symptoms of depression. Starting with less strenuous physical activities such as walking or even playing outdoors creates a balance for the child.
Eating habits and sleeping patterns are also critical when a child is depressed. Lack of enough sleep can cause exhaustion and demotivation leading to severe depression.
You can include foods rich in Vitamin C and B in your daily meals to reduce your child’s stress levels. Eating fruits and a balanced diet can also help reduce depression.
Encourage a Healthy Social Lifestyle
Depressed children tend to withdraw from their friends, family, and social life in general. You can get your child involved in sports, art classes, pottery, or even baking lessons and encourage them to discover their interests.
Creating time to bond and talk with family can be an excellent way of allowing your child to express their feelings. A good communication trick is using roses to describe a good thing and a thorn to describe a negative thing that has happened. For example, when your child gets home, everyone gathers around and shares what has been your thorn and what has been your rose during the day or week.
As you try to help your child who seems depressed, it is also essential to take care of yourself. Be honest with the family so that his/her siblings do not feel neglected. Talk to someone, and do not be ashamed if you feel overwhelmed or helpless.