Teaching Troubled Teens To Manage Their Depression In Healthy Ways

There is no magic formula for curing a teen of their depression. You can’t just tell them to be happy, or try and put their situation into a different perspective. There are so many factors at work, some physical, some emotional, and still others environmental. Treating depression and related disorders, such as anxiety, is complicated and long term.

As a parent, that is the last thing you want to hear. You want to help your child, to take away the pain they are suffering from. You probably feel hopeless and are unsure of what to do. That doesn’t mean you can’t be there for them, or that their depression won’t go away. There are many ways that you can help your teenager better cope with their depression.

“People Can Change”

An interesting study was performed by University of Texas at Austin’s Professor David S. Yeager. He found that he was able to reach young teens and help them manage social stress that could be a major contributor to anxiety and depression. All it took was having them sit down at the beginning of the school year to write and internalize a single, basic phrase: “People can change”.

This research shows that while we can’t just fix our depressed teens, we can give them tools to help them cope with their emotions in healthy ways. Other intervention will be needed in many cases, but it is a start. A similar method is used in the Parent Learning Center courses.

Healthy Coping Tactics For Your Depressed Teen

You can be there for your teen, and provide them with the stability they need to overcome their depression. It all starts with helping them to manage their feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and channel their emotions into more healthy forms of coping.

Encourage a Routine

One of the most important things you can do when depressed in establish and maintain a routine. You can help your teen create their own, and keep on track. An example of a daily routine for your teen may be:

6 AM – Wake Up

6: 15 – Workout

6:45 – Shower

7:00 – Get Ready For School

7:30 – Breakfast

8:00 – School

2:00 – Band Practice

3:00 – Go to Tina’s

6:00 – Dinner

7:00 – Homework

10:00 – Bed

Notice there are gaps which give your teen some leeway. But this routine provides a basic structure that can help them get through the day.

Create an Open Dialogue

Your teen should know that they can talk to you about anything, including how they are feeling. So be open with them, and encourage them to speak to you. Remain calm, and never react in a judgmental way, as that might cause them to close off again. Bring up concerns, and give them the freedom to vent when they need to.

Being open about your own feelings can be really helpful here.

Find a Support Group

Local support groups exist for depression, as well as other disorders and issues faced by teens. But the internet is absolutely full of them, on social media sites, on Reddit, on forums…there are plenty of options.

Bring up the idea of support groups with your teen, and see if they want your help finding them. Otherwise, encourage them to find their own. If they feel a local group may be more beneficial, help arrange for them to attend meetings.

Reduce Stress

Stress can be a major contributing factor to depression for anyone, teens or adults. Learning to reduce that stress can be a highly effective way of coping. One way is to prioritize life tasks, and remove certain stressors that don’t meet those priorities.

For example, if your teen has been struggling to maintain math club, band, and track, encourage them to consider dropping one of the three that they feel the most anxious about, or less attached to.

Creating a more harmonious environment at home is also a good idea. Get rid of clutter in messy rooms, reduce fighting among siblings or your spouse, and start having more quality family time where the point is to get along and have fun.

Find more tips for helping your depressed teen through this difficult time at Parent Learning Center.

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