Teen Depression and Anxiety: What Parents Can Do

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Time – October 27, 2016

Are you worried about your teen and don’t know what to do next?  Below is some advice from Fadi Haddad, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the author of Helping Kids in Crisis.

Talk about the real stuff

Sometimes conversations between parents and teens can be all about achievements, schedules and chores. Go beyond that. Find out what keeps them up at night, and ask, “What’s the best part of your day?” Become attuned to their emotional world so that you understand what their dreams are, what they struggle with and how their life is going.

Give them space, but pay attention

Give teens space to grow and separate from you, but also watch for changes in behavior. Are they giving up activities they used to enjoy? Are they staying up all night or eating differently? Is your outgoing kid now withdrawn? If you’re worried, say so. Show interest in their internal life without judgment.

Resist getting angry

When parents learn a teen has been hiding something or is having behavior issues, the response is often anger or punishment. Instead, see what’s going on. If a kid is acting out or doing things like self-harming, skipping school, respond with compassion first. Say, “It seems like you’re having trouble, I’m here to help. Tell me what’s happening with you.”

Don’t put off getting help

If you’re worried about an adolescent, talk to a school counselor, therapist or doctor.  It’s better to get help early, rather than when trouble has firmly taken hold.

Treat the whole family

When a kid is in crisis, many times it’s not enough to treat the child—you have to change the family dynamic. It’s possible that something about the home environment was causing the child stress, so be open to acknowledging that and getting family counseling if needed.

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If you are concerned about your child, please do not hesitate to contact Youth Dynamics today.  We are available to talk to you by phone or in person, assess your child, and can recommend supportive services that will give your child the best opportunity for success.  We never keep a waitlist and are available to meet with families in their home, school, or community.

We are located in 20 communities which all serve families within a 60 mile radius of the Youth Dynamics office.

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