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Parenting a Teenager with Depression

'I do know above all else that God is there and He is there for me."  - Bethany

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad but when it extends over a period of time, it is called depression. Depression is an illness that interferes with daily life. Depression affects the young and old, men and women, and all ethnic groups. This video describes a young woman’s experience with depression as a child. What does depression look like in children? As a child, she struggled with school and did not feel good about herself. She didn’t want to attend class and hardly got out of bed. Internally, she felt something was wrong and told her mother, “I am sad all the time and I don’t think I can function properly.” Her mother sought help and advice from a doctor. Medical tests confirmed that she had depression and anxiety. Her friends were not supportive and she lost her only best friend.

God was her source of comfort through trial and tribulation. She reached out to God and wanted to know why depression and anxiety had taken over her life. God responded with his love and reassured her through Bible verses that no matter what comes our way, his word is a path to enlighten our faith. As an adult, she still struggles with daily activities but knows God will give her strength.

When life knocks us down, it is important to seek God’s help: “Surely, I will wait for the Lord: who bends down to me and hears my cry. He draws me up from the pit of destruction, out of the muddy clay; He sets my feet upon a rock and steadies my steps” (Psalms 40:1-3, NASB).

Some points to consider when parenting a child with depression:  

  • Be involved with your child’s life
  • Seek help for depression and/or anxiety
  • Seek help for yourself (parents or guardian) when needed
  • Establish and maintain a good relationship with your child
  • Help your child to set goals and solve problems
  • Support your child when something is bothering them
  • Help your child to manage depression and anxiety
 
Grace Notes by Philip Yancey

"How do I help someone in need? Specifically, what can I do to alleviate their fear? I have learned that simple availability is the most powerful force we can contribute to help calm the fears of others" (175).
 

Words to Live By

"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God" Psalm 42:11 (NIV).

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV).

"...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" Isaiah 40:31 (NIV).

Dr. Ron's Perspective:  

Depression is not a rare or unusual experience, but actually quite common. Persistent sadness, fatigue, and feelings of hopelessness are the more common symptoms of depression.   Many times people feel depressed in reaction to a loss, disappointment or trauma.   Depression can also be caused by irrational or faulty thinking.  Sometimes we tend to focus on the negative aspects of a situation rather than the positive, for example.  Everyone feels sad and down now and then, but when these feelings do not go away, we may be experiencing depression. A qualified mental health professional can help make the correct diagnosis and suggest a course of treatment. 

Recommended Resources: 

Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cures  - D. Martin Lloyd Jones
When the Darkness Will Not Lie  - John Piper
Unmasking Male Depression  - Archibald Hart
www.psychologyinfo.com/depression

 

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