The subject of childhood stress and depression seems to surround me this week. Everywhere I turn on the web and in the newspapers, someone somewhere mentions it in one way or another. It is obvious that we are all very concerned for our children.
With the memory of the 14-year old who committed suicide earlier this week still fresh in our minds, I would like to continue my discussion on depression, stress and its symptoms. In my opinion one cannot be over-informed on this subject. Our children are precious and they have the right to grow up healthy and successful, without the added emotional baggage that goes with depression, stress and anxiety. It is important that we teach our children how to deal with their issues early on. As parents it is our responsibility to give them the necessary tools to deal with stressors so that they can become adept at using their skills to combat any emotional strain in future. One cannot avoid stress in our day and age, but one can learn to deal with it in a healthy, non-destructive way.
We, as parents are not only here to feed and clothe our kids, or give them a home and pay for schooling, we need to prepare them to become adults in an unforgiving world and, in the process, we may learn valuable lessons of our own.
Elizabeth Renter recently published an article in Fox News about teenage stress. The article gives insight into normal levels of teen stress and provides a list of tell-tale signs and symptoms that could indicate that the teen is overwhelmed. While teenagers, in general, have a certain amount of stress in their lives, and while some stress can even be beneficial, parents need to be prepared to confront issues if their child presents with these symptoms that show he or she is under abnormal amounts of stress. DO NOT HESITATE TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM.
[Click here to read the full article.]
The American psychological Association conducted a survey in 2013 and found that teens report unhealthy stress levels that exceed those of adults. 31% of teens reported feeling overwhelmed by stress and 30% said stressors were the cause of their sadness and/or depression. [Source: FoxNews].
WHAT SHOULD PARENTS WATCH OUT FOR?
* Changes in eating and sleeping habits
* Overwhelming worries about things that are beyond their control (like global events, being ‘’perfect’’, etc)
* Fear of humiliation when doing everyday tasks (eating in front of others or saying the wrong things)
* Recurring and intrusive thoughts they cannot seem to control (fear of germs, paranoia, e.g. someone is out to ‘get’ them)
* Refusal to be away from parents or refusing to go to school
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR TEEN?
* Listen to what they say – do not interrupt them
* Provide thoughtful responses
* Do not over-react; keep calm
Renter closes the article with the following statement: “By talking to your child, keeping a close eye on her behaviors, modeling positive stress management techniques and not being afraid to reach out for help, you’re most likely to set your teen up for success.” [Source: Fox News]
This article contains added links and has more valuable information about teen stress and depression, please do yourself and your child a favor, click here, and read it in full.