8 warning signs of depression in your child

Did you know that kids can also fall into depression? Depression isn’t something that is known to affect adults, it is possible for your child to become depressed too. 

As a parent, you might overlook some things your child does, or how they react to certain situations. Sometimes you think they’re just throwing a tantrum, or other times they’re just “being a child”. Whereas, there is more to the story than you think. Parents must begin to pay more attention to their child, or children, to help them understand their feelings and emotions. 

Key takeaway 

Children can also feel depressed, and certain things could mean your child is depressed. And they shouldn’t overlooked. In this article you’ll get to understand the potential signs of depression in your child, its causes, ways to help your child, and so on. This article will help you understand how to better care and love your child/children. 

Firstly, what is depression?

Depression is like being stuck in a deep, dark hole with no way out. It’s feeling sad and lost, not just for a little while, but for a long time. It can make everything seem heavy and difficult, even the things you used to enjoy. It’s like a heavy rain cloud that follows you around, making it hard to see the sunshine. People suffering from depression often feel tired, hopeless, and like they’re all alone in the world.

And your child may begin to feel this way as well. 

Signs of depression in a child 

A girl child who feels depressed

Symptoms of depression in children are similar to that of an adult. However, seeing that children may have difficulty expressing their emotions as an adult would, there may be slight differences. 

Notwithstanding, let’s review some things that could mean your child is depressed:

1. Changes in Appetite

Watch out for significant changes in your child’s eating habits. This could mean a decrease or increase in appetite that lasts for an extended period. In other cases, a depressed adult may resort to overeating. However, kids may react differently, as they would choose to withdraw from food. 

2 . Sleep disturbances

Keep an eye on your child’s sleeping patterns. Insomnia, frequent nightmares, or excessive sleeping can be indicators of depression. You may put your child to bed, only to come back later, and still find them fully awake. This may not mean your child is being stubborn to sleep, it could be an indicator that their mental state is at risk.

3. Irritability

Notice if your child seems more irritable or easily frustrated than usual. They may have a shorter fuse or get upset over minor things. It’s widely known that children tend to always make a fuss about something, and while many find it silly and cute, it could mean the opposite. 

4. Withdrawal from activities

If your child starts avoiding activities they used to enjoy, such as their hobbies favorite cartoons or TV shows, or spending time with friends, it could be a sign of depression. Children love to play, even when you ask them not to, so when they suddenly withdraw from things they enjoy, you have to look into it. 

5. Feelings of sadness or hopelessness

Pay attention to your child’s emotional state. Children are supposed to be lighthearted, so if they begin to express feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness, it’s essential to address these emotions. This isn’t them being “ a kid”, if your child behaves like there is no hope or joy in this world, then there is a problem. 

6. Difficulty concentrating

One of the most interesting things about children is how they pay attention to details and remember a lot of things! So if your child has trouble focusing, completing tasks, or remembering things, something could be wrong. Depression can affect cognitive abilities, and lead to difficulties in school or daily activities. 

7 . They become intentionally aggressive 

If you begin to notice some aggressive behaviors in your child, it’s important to look into it. No doubt that children can be troublesome, you know, have an issue with one kid or the other. However, when a child becomes unnecessarily harsh, aggressive, verbally abusive, and always wants to hurt others, there’s a problem. It’s much worse when your child has always been peaceful, and loving, it’s not normal, and you need to get to the bottom of it. 

8 . They isolate themselves 

Even when at home, if your child always isolates themselves from everyone else around them, it’s not a good idea. Normally, kids don’t just exclude themselves from everyone at home and prefer not to speak or talk to anyone, it’s unhealthy. When children are home, they want to play with everyone, whether it’s with their siblings, pets, parent’s iPad, mummy, daddy, and so on. It’s quite bizarre for them to begin to require alone times, every single day suddenly, something is wrong somewhere. 

Avoid brushing off certain behaviors your child is displaying, always look into things they begin to do. And remember that it isn’t every time they’re just “being kids” Remember, it’s essential to take your child’s mental health seriously and provide the necessary care and support during this challenging time.

Reasons a child can experience depression 

Children can experience depression due to various reasons. Some common factors include:

1. Genetic Factors

Children with a family history of depression may be more prone to developing it themselves due to genetic predispositions.

2. Traumatic events

Experiencing trauma such as the loss of a loved one, abuse; whether sexual or verbal, being bullied, or certain life changes, can trigger depression in children.

3. Environmental factors

Stressful environments at home; such as witnessing violence between their parents or siblings, at school, or in social settings can impact a child’s mental health, and lead to depression. 

4. Chronic illness or disability

Children dealing with chronic health conditions or disabilities may be at a higher risk of developing depression due to the challenges they face.

5. Low self-esteem

A child struggling with low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, or bullying may be more susceptible to depression. Don’t believe that children can’t develop low self-esteem, because they actually can.

6 . Academics 

Your child’s academic performance may play a role in the development of depression. If they’re not doing well at school, while they watch their peers do better, it can lead to them feeling depressed. 

7 . Financial instability 

Don’t ever think that your child wouldn’t know what’s going on at home, whether positive or negative. As mentioned earlier, children pay attention to details more than you think. Kids can know when their parents are having money problems, and this can affect their mental health, and lead to them becoming depressed. 

8 . Restriction 

Most kids love to feel free, however, when you always tell them NO, it can make them feel caged and unloved. There are obvious reasons and situations where you tell your child no. However, when they’re always told NO to everything, it can make them feel very sad, and lead to depression. Because they will begin to believe that they aren’t deserving to have good things or express good things. 

9 . Constant relocation 

Constantly moving from one place to another can affect your child’s ability to cope with life. Your child needs stability, and constantly moving from one city or state to the other, can make them feel depressed. 

“I just discovered my child is depressed” What do I do?

If a parent discovers their child is depressed, it’s important to provide support and seek professional help. However here are some helpful steps you can take as a parent: 

1. Listen and validate

Encourage your child to talk about their feelings, and let them know you’re there for them. Please do not complain, or aggressively ask them to talk. Instead. validate their emotions, and show empathy. This’ll help them feel safe, and comfortable in communicating with you. 

2 . Create a safe environment

Ensure your child feels safe, and loved at home. Create a safe space for your child to express themselves openly, encourage them to talk about their emotions and experiences, and listen to them without judgment. 

Offer comfort, reassurance, and understanding, and let them know it’s okay to feel the way they do. Also, avoid raising your voice at them, or anyone at home, speak more gently, and approach them calmly.

3 . Encourage healthy habits

Help your child maintain a healthy lifestyle by encouraging regular exercise, activities they enjoy, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep so they get enough rest. Start filling the house with things that can aid your efforts, even if it means depriving yourself of some things!

4 . Stay Involved

Stay involved in your child’s life, participate in activities together, and monitor their well-being. Never be too busy, try to create time and hang out with your child. Show your child that you’re there for them, whether it’s through physical affection, spending quality time together, or helping them access professional support.

5 . Lead by example

Share your feelings and experiences with your child. Kids always believe their parents are impenetrable, fearless, unstoppable, and fearless. However, by being open and vulnerable yourself, you make yourself more relatable and show them that it’s okay to talk about emotions. 

6 . Respect their boundaries

Your kids also have boundaries, and it’s important to respect your child’s boundaries. If they’re not ready to talk, let them know you’re there whenever they’re ready. Please do not force them to talk or threaten them, you might think it’ll make them budge, but it’ll have the opposite effect on them. 

7 . Ask open-ended questions

Instead of yes or no questions, ask open-ended questions that require more than a one-word answer. This can help your child express their thoughts and feelings more freely.

8 . Seek professional help

If you’ve tried the above approach and things don’t seem to work, try considering reaching out to a therapist, counselor, or mental health professional who can provide the necessary support and guidance. This is very important, and you mustn’t hesitate to do so. 

Remember, your love and support can make a significant difference in your child’s well-being. By creating a safe and supportive environment, you can help your child feel comfortable opening up about their feelings. It’s essential to be patient, and understanding, and seek professional help if needed. Your child is lucky to have a caring parent like you!

5 effective Strategies in Preventing Your Child from Becoming Depressed 

When it comes to preventing your child from becoming depressed or reducing the risks, there are several effective strategies you can consider:

1. Be approachable to your child 

Some parents frighten their children without even knowing it, and this can make your kids feel skeptical in coming to you about their worries. It’s important to let your kids know that they can come to you about anything and everything. 

2. Promote healthy habits

Encourage your child to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious foods, getting regular exercise, and ensuring they get enough sleep. Physical well-being can have a positive impact on their mental health.

3. Let them also bond with others 

Do not restrict your child or children from their loved ones. Some parents keep their children away from extended family members and friends, which is wrong. Unless they are harmful to your kids, don’t block them from creating a relationships with family members and friends. 

Allow your child to build strong relationships with family and friends. Social connections can provide support and a sense of belonging, which can help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness.

4. Teach coping skills

Teach your child healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress and difficult emotions. This could include mindfulness techniques, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities they enjoy. 

5 .  Make home a less hostile environment 

Sometimes children dread being at home because of how hostile their parents make it seem. Some of the following may cause your home to feel uncomfortable for your child:

  • arguments between you and your partner 
  • correcting them  with aggression
  • judging them 
  • preferential treatment to their siblings 

Please parents make cautious efforts not to make your kids see home as a living hell.

6 . Seek professional help when needed

If you notice signs of depression or persistent changes in your child’s behavior, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide the necessary support and guidance before it advances to something worse.

These strategies can help create a supportive environment for your child and reduce the risk of depression. 

How to approach the topic of seeking professional help with your child

When it comes to discussing seeking professional help with your child, it’s important to approach the topic with care and sensitivity. You could start by expressing your concerns in a loving and non-judgmental way. Let your child know that you’re there to support them and that seeking help from a professional can be beneficial in managing their emotions and well-being. It’s about showing them that it’s okay to ask for help when needed and that you’re there to walk alongside them on this journey.

Here’s how you can introduce therapy to your child if you don’t know how to:

The best way to talk to your child about therapy is to approach it in a positive light. You could start by explaining that therapy is a safe space to talk about feelings and get support. Additionally, you can mention that it’s like having a special person to help figure things out and feel better. Overall, it’s all about showing them that therapy can be a helpful and positive experience. 

My special tips on how you can find the right therapist for your child 

When looking for the right therapist for your child, it’s essential to consider their needs and preferences. You can start by asking for recommendations from your child’s school counselor, pediatrician, or other parents. It’s also helpful to look for a therapist who specializes in working with children and has experience in dealing with the specific issues your child is facing. Don’t hesitate to schedule initial consultations with a few therapists to see who your child feels most comfortable with. It’s all about finding a good fit for your child’s needs and personality. 

Message from Medspurs 

As a parent, your child’s safety and well-being should always be a priority for you. They don’t have anyone else but you, be their hero, love them, cherish and support them. Sometimes you might make some mistakes which is understandable, but always make sure you make it for it and show up better and stronger. Your child can fall into depression, but you can bring them out of it, and help them become stronger and better! 

Frequently asked questions

What activities can I do with my child to help them feel better?

Spending quality time with your child can help them feel better. You could try doing activities like going for a walk together, playing games, doing arts or crafts, cooking a meal together, or even just having a heart-to-heart chat over a cup of hot cocoa. The key is to create a positive and supportive atmosphere where your child feels comfortable and loved. Just being there for them can make a big difference!

What fun games do I play to bond with my child?

It’s really beautiful to bond with your sweet little pumpkin. Here are some fun things to do to help create a stronger connection. You could try playing board games like Monopoly or Scrabble, card games like Uno, or even outdoor games like Frisbee or soccer. Oh, and don’t forget the everlasting hide-and-seek game! 

These games can be fun and also provide a great opportunity for quality time together. Or better still engage in the games you know pretty well your kid loves. 

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