by: Christina Botto
One minute your teenager will be laughing and joking along with you, and the next he is in a fit of rage – yelling or crying without warning or cause.
Mood swings are normal with all teenagers, but how can you tell when mood swings turn into depression?
Teenagers have so much to deal with that depression can come on easily and without warning. If left untreated, it can become a much more serious issue.
With pressure at school, family situations, and the necessity of making serious life choices at a young age, depression may make such a sudden impact even the teenager may not know that he is suffering with this disorder. Depression in teenagers is often overlooked, and is rarely treated or even diagnosed.
Many parents tend to view their teenager’s bad mood or anger as just another teenage trait. Most teenagers suffering with depression will almost constantly be upset, not just with their parents, but also with siblings and even friends.
Their grades may drop and their social life may cease suddenly and unexpectedly. Your teenager may make excuses to stay in his room and not participate in social activities, and when forced to participate, may do so with little or no enthusiasm.
Sometimes this disorder may actually be a chemical imbalance and uncontrollable with just words and care from the parent.
Medications and therapy may be required for your teenager to regain their mental health.
Depression is a serious disorder that can lead to even more dire situations such as school or home violence, self injury, and even suicide.
You know your child better than anyone; you will be able to tell that something is bothering them.
Begin a conversation by mentioning that you can see that something is troubling him or her. Point out that sometimes just talking about a situation will help to find a solution or to see things from a different perspective.
Listen for expressions of thoughts of suicide:
- Life is meaningless
- I wish I were dead
- I'm going to end it all
- You'll be better off without me
- What's the point of living?
- Soon you won't have to worry about me
- Who cares if I'm dead, anyway?
- Nothing matters any more
If your teenager will not talk to you about their problems, speak with a school guidance counselor. He or she might be able to give you helpful information about what is troubling your teen.
Signs of depression or thoughts of suicide:
- Does not want to do things they used to love doing
- Have an unusual interest in death or violence
- Give away important possessions
- Change in friendships
- Change in personality
- Neglect their appearance and/or cleanliness
- Change in eating habits
- Change in sleeping habits
- Struggle with gender identity
- Experiment with risky behavior
The guidance counselor may also help you assess if it would be necessary for your teenager to see a professional therapist or to attend a group counseling session. Should you decide that therapy is necessary, do not force your teen to attend any of these sessions.
Instead, ask him to attend if only to find out that his particular problem might not be as unique as they think.
Your teenager might experience great relief in realizing that he is simply going through natural developmental stages and that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the pressures of school, family and peers.
Instead of breaking under the stress and thinking he is incapable of handling daily life, your teenager will approach obstacles more open-minded and be more willing to discuss issues with you or his therapist.
About The Author
Christina Botto is a member of the National Writers Association and the author of Help Me With My Teenager! A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents That Works. She has also recently published a 3 volume series dealing with specific issues facing teens and parents today, Fitting The Pieces. The series contains unique insight into the minds of teens, with hundreds of interviews with teens and their parents – and practical advice on dealing with some of the biggest problems faced by parents with teens.
To learn more about these life-changing strategies to bring you and your teen closer together – and put an end to the frustration and madness of a dysfunctional parent-teen relationship, pick up your copy of Christina's Help Me With My Teenager! A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents That Works today.
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