Talking to children can be a delicate matter, especially when there is the issue of depression in the mix. Asking children what they think of depression and how they feel about it can lead them to think this is acceptable behavior. They need to know that having thoughts like these are not right, and should be kept away from their mind for a more positive outlook in life. There are numerous ways parents can talk about it with their kids. A few are listed below.
1.Be open and honest
Like most parents, you’re probably hoping to raise your children as happy, healthy and well-adjusted adults. And while it can seem like there’s a lot of pressure on parents to do everything right, there’s one thing that you can do that will make a huge difference in your child’s life: being open and honest about depression.
Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide each year, making it the leading cause of disability in the world. The World Health Organization has identified depression as a global public health problem, but despite its prevalence, many people who experience it don’t seek treatment for fear of being stigmatized by others.
This stigma is especially true when it comes to children and teens. A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescence found that only half of children with depression receive treatment from their primary care doctors — even though they’re at increased risk for developing chronic depression later in life.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. By talking openly about the signs and symptoms of depression with your kids now, you can help them recognize what’s going on if they ever start experiencing symptoms themselves later on down the road. You may not be sure how to talk to your children about depression, but it’s important to start the conversation early and often. The more you can talk openly about mental health issues, the better.
2.Don’t sugarcoat it
If you want your kids to grow up with a healthy perspective on depression, you need to talk openly with them about it. The problem is that many parents sugarcoat the subject or make light of it in order to avoid dealing with it head-on. But that approach isn’t helpful for anyone, especially children.
When you do not sugar coat they’ll be more aware of what’s going on in their own lives. Depression isn’t something that just affects adults; kids can suffer from it too — even if they don’t realize it at first. When you sugarcoat their symptoms as something else, they may not realize they’re depressed until much later in life — or worse, they might develop other mental health problems as a result of never having gotten treatment for their depression early on.
Another is they’ll have a better sense of self-worth and self-esteem as adults. Children who are taught that their feelings are valid and real will grow up feeling like they matter when they get older — which means they’ll be more likely to take care of themselves emotionally, mentally and physically.
3.Teach them how to help
It’s not easy to talk about depression with children, but it’s important that they know what to do if a friend or family member is struggling.When it comes to talking about depression, you can either teach your kids the facts or you can teach them how to help. We believe teaching them both is better than one or the other.
Teaching them the facts helps them understand what depression is and what it isn’t. It also helps them recognize signs of someone who may need help. Teaching them how to help shows your kids what they can do when someone needs their support. It teaches them how much good they can do in this world by just being there for others.
More importantly, teach your child ways they can help when someone is experiencing depression. This could include doing small chores around the house or helping with homework on particularly difficult days. If your child knows how best to help, they can do so without being told what to do every time something goes wrong in their lives.
Your kids shouldn’t always be expected to be responsible for your moods — even if they’re old enough to understand why things are happening around them (or even if they’ve been through similar experiences themselves). Children should be able to rely on their parents for support and guidance as much as possible; don’t put too
5. Be honest about your own struggles about mental health
It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have. But it also feels important to be honest about our own struggles with mental health in front of our children.
As parents, we know how important it is for us to be honest with our kids about the world around them. We want them to grow up with a strong sense of self, empowered by the knowledge that their thoughts and feelings matter. This means being open about our own struggles — whether it’s depression or anxiety or any other mental health issue we may be facing.
When we hide our own issues, we’re implicitly telling them that they shouldn’t share theirs either — or that they should only share certain aspects of themselves with us as parents.
But when we share openly about what we’re going through, it helps children understand that everyone feels this way sometimes (even their parents). And when they see us being honest about our own struggles, they may feel more comfortable doing so too.
6. Talk about the signs and symptoms of depression
Talking about depression is an important step toward reducing the stigma of the condition. Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in Canada, and one in five Canadians will experience a mood disorder at some point in their lives.
Talking about depression can help children understand what it is, how to recognize its signs and symptoms and what they should do if someone they know is experiencing depression.
Talking about these symptoms can help to normalizes feelings. When your child hears you discussing your own struggles with depression or anxiety, they’ll see that these issues aren’t just for adults. They’ll know that it’s OK to feel sad or anxious sometimes — even adults get those feelings from time to time!
It also helps them learn early on that mental illness isn’t something only adults have. Children often think that mental illnesses only happen to grown-ups because they don’t see any other kids struggling with these issues. If we don’t tell them otherwise, they may never realize that kids can have mental health problems too!
7. Let them ask questions
When we talk about depression, it’s important that we don’t just talk about it as something that affects adults. Depression can affect anyone at any time, and the earlier we educate our kids about mental health, the better prepared they will be for their own futures.
As parents, we have a lot of power when it comes to educating our children on this subject — but how do we actually go about doing it? How do we explain something that is so hard to understand without going into a lot of detail? The best way is by letting them ask questions and answering them as honestly as possible.
The key here is that you need to be honest with your child from the get-go. If you’re worried they might find out later in life that you’ve lied to them before, then there’s no point in starting now! It’s important that they know everything there is to know about mental health issues before they can make an informed decision about how they want to handle their own mental health challenges.
8. Make the conversation age-appropriate
Young children don’t understand abstract concepts like mental illness or even death so don’t expect them to grasp what depression means. Instead, try to use simple language and concrete examples when explaining these things to your child. For example, if your child asks what “depression” means, just say “it’s when someone feels sad all the time.” Or if he asks why someone died from suicide, tell him that people who die from suicide usually have been feeling very sad for a long time before they do it.” In this way they will understand that opening up their problems to you is so important so that they will not commit suicide. They will tell you about their problems or when they are sad more often now.
There is no quick fix when it comes to having the proper talk about depression. It will take time, but having open communication with your child can lead to benefits for both of you.
For more helpful and informative insights, visit here.