Parents are understandably worried about their teens. The ever increasing rate of teen suicides and depression, have made parents wonder what they could do to help kids overcome treacherous moments during their adolescent years.
Fortunately, scientists have come up with some advice on how to better understand impacts of depression on teens and how to prevent it. These suggestions are explained below.
Provide continual warmth, caring and support
A study result in 2016 of some group of teenagers from different ethnic backgrounds, have showed that teens with sufficient parental support had lower depression symptoms and lower cortisol and C- reactive protein levels – two physiological markers associated with depression – than teens with less supports.
One important thing from this study is that, supports from peers did not change these markers, suggesting to us that parental support is key.
So, the best way to help guide your teen is to provide appropriate supports without discounting their emotional lives. Showing empathy, asking open-ended rather than pointed questions, seeking to understand rather than correct, being gentle when your teen’s words and actions don’t match, and showing support for their growing autonomy. Most importantly, adequate support and enforcing appropriate limits, are key toward helping your teen avoid depression.
Teach and model strong social and emotional skills
Teens also go through different social and emotional situations, just like adults. These include changing friends, sour romantic relationships, disappointments, the stress of academics and so on. So, coping with these challenges can be difficult, making teens more prone to depression.
According to report, parents can help their teen face emotional challenges by modelling positive emotional responding.
Parents can also help their kids through emotional coaching, starting by accepting their teen’s feelings. Also, practicing mindfulness – which is an awareness of one’s present emotions, thoughts, and experiences – can help parents keep calm whenever they are interacting with teens. This in turn helps teens avoid depression, anxiety, and the use of drugs, which have all been linked to depression.
Encourage positive peer relationship
Teens look to their peers for approval and status. But if these relationships are agitated, they may lead to depression.
A study in 2015, reported that having positive friends, and being in a romantic relationship, can help protect the teenage child from social anxiety and depression.
However, negativity and abuse in friendship and romantic relationship can lead to social anxiety and depression.
So, parents can help their kids by not becoming unnecessarily worried because their kids have many friends and by understanding that taking risks in relationships is part of growing up
Encourage teens to seek purpose in life
Research have shown that having a sense of purpose in life or even searching for one is beneficial for teens, especially as they get older.
Parents need to always interact with their teens by asking relevant questions and then listen carefully to what they have to say in order to assess where their sense of purpose may lie.
So, if parents can practice these points and others, they will not only help their teens avoid problems like depression, but will also help to shape a positive future for them and for society.