A quick reference guide for parents
It seems impossible. Right? How can a life whose sole purpose is to eat and finish homework be depressed? The answer is far from this assumption. Childhood stress is as real as adult depression, moreover, since not a lot of research or psychiatric attention has been devoted to this issue, the area of childhood depression as well as stress, remains up in the air.
If you are seeing sudden changes in your child, do not ignore it. Look at the following symptoms to make out if your child is feeling depressed.
- A child feeling depressed takes little or no pleasure in playing, activities and sports. A child who used to dance around the house may sit throughout the day when depressed.
- Anger and irritability are two symptoms that accompany mood swings.
- Change in eating habits is a strong indicator of feeling stressed out or depressed. However, make sure your child is not otherwise sick or avoiding food for some other reason (like bad taste).
- Depressed children spend most of their time alone and resist being included in groups or family.
- Unusual sleep pattern: A child feeling depressed may have trouble sleeping night after night or indulging in too much sleep. Both ways, the sleep pattern is disrupted and his life is becoming affected by such a rapid change.
- Rapid weight gain or loss: Depending on the change in eating habits of your child, she may gain weight or lose a substantial amount of it in a short period of time.
- Inability to concentrate: Another physical change that accompanies depression is the difficulty to sit and work on a task for some time.
Your job as a parent:
It is difficult to see your child suffer this agony and all you want to do is help. But children do not behave like adults and therefore you cannot talk them out of it. Still, there are many ways to communicate and provide help:
The “What’s wrong with Boo?” game for young children
This is a very simple yet powerful activity that encourages your child to talk. Take a stuff toy, like a teddy bear named Boo or draw a ‘stick man’ on a page and call him with a name. Now, make the man look sad or have the teddy act gloomy and ask your child, “What’s wrong with Boo?” Your child may say, “I think he’s sad.” Continue the conversation by asking, “Why do you think Boo is sad?” Depending on your child’s response you can ask more questions.Like your child may reply, “Because Boo hates school.”
The idea of this game is that your child may project his own worries on the teddy and you can understand the cause behind them.
Include your child into plenty of activities including games, sports, outdoor activities as well as role play games. You can act as a patient and come to your ‘doctor’ with a problem of feeling sad. Let your child device a solution for you. This way, she will be more perceptive to your advice when the gesture is returned.
Don’t hesitate to consult a practitioner
If the situation seems to be going out of hand, consult a child psychologist without wasting any time. It is imperative to your child’s health that the feeling of depression be cured as soon as possible.
Being a parent puts immense responsibility on your shoulders and you must handle it with a stable mind. Do not show any signs of worry yourself because it may hinder your child’s state of mind. As a parent, what are the ways that have worked for your kids?