Depression is a very real disease that affects many people; including children. Many parents are unaware that their children face a very real risk of developing depression. They neglect to consider the fact that it does affect children. They often consider the life a child one that is carefree and happy. Unfortunately, many children suffer from depression, which is the feeling of complete hopelessness. The inability to enjoy childhood as one should is devastating for children. As a parent, you can help to prevent depression in your child.
Recognize Hurt and Pain
It is a natural reaction for children to mask their pain and sadness by putting on a brave front. This makes it difficult for many parents to recognize signs of depression in their children. As a parent, you need to look for signs that your child is misbehaving and make a point to ask him what has him so frustrated he feels the need to behave poorly. This opens the door to communication and shows your child you are there for him.
Make Time to Listen
When your child attempts to tell you that something is bothering him, avoid belittling his feelings. By telling him that he’s being silly for feeling a certain way, you are telling him that his feelings are not important and that you are not available to him when he needs you.
Stick to a Routine
Small children work well with routine. Knowing what is going to happen next is comforting for them, which is why interrupting their routine on a regular basis can cause them to become depressed. Even if you are on vacation or in the middle of a big move, keeping as much of your child’s life as routine as possible is the best way to avoid the onset of depression.
Praise Your Child
Parents often make the mistake of reprimanding their children for all that they do wrong and saying nothing when they behave well. This causes children to feel as if though they are failures. While it is imperative that your child know the boundaries of good and bad behavior, providing them with positive reinforcement is better for their self-esteem than only reprimanding their poor behavior.
Check Your Family Medical History
Children who have parents that struggle from depression are more likely to struggle from depression. Depression is hereditary, which means that you need to know whether either parent has suffered from depression at any time in their lives. If either of you has suffered from depression, you need to be aware that your child has a bigger risk factor for developing depression.
Exercise and Play Outside
Children who exercise and are exposed to sunlight on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from depression than children who do not do these things. Sunlight is a natural agent that helps to balance the moods of children, meaning that they will feel happier and more content. Exercise also produces hormones that improve a person’s mood.
Children who have creative outlets suffer less from depression than those who do not. Allowing your child to join a club or a team, to play outside with friends, or to paint and draw allows them to get creative and express their emotions through their creativity, rather than bottling them up inside.
Nothing can make childhood feel more isolating and devastating for a child than being depressed. As parents, it is up to you to ensure that your child is getting the most out of his childhood and that you are doing everything you can to prevent depression. It could be a positive turning point in your child’s life.
Jeff is a passionate blogger. He often writes about parenting and child care. He is also a content writer for long island divorce lawyers.