Children often face difficulties to deal with their bad experiences. Bad scores in exams, falling out with friends and being lovesick for the first time are some of the reasons. We, as an adult can figure out many ways to solve it with the help of our experience. But our children are still learning to cope with it. Sometimes parents aren’t able to understand the situation of their child. It can increase the chances of severe mental illness for their child.
We need to know that problems and the tough situation can push a child into a distressed situation. When it crosses the bearing limits of a child, it becomes a depression which can lead a child into serious mental illness. Depression is a condition that is more severe than normal sadness. It can significantly interfere with a child’s ability to think and act normally.
Depression can lead our children to mental disorders like autism and bipolar disorders. Thus, to understand the cause of depression & its prevention for your child, here we go with the full guide:
What are the causes of Depression in a child?
One in four children in India suffers from depression. It doesn’t have any specific cause. It usually comes from the combination of the biological process. The psychological and environmental factors also play a major role in it.
Following is the list of its causes:
- Biologically, depression is caused by the deficiency of neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.
- It is a partially genetic component. If the parents have depressive disorders, there is a possibility for the transfer of these traits into their child.
- A child’s environment matters a lot in it. It may happen due to problems in the family such as family disputes, domestic violence, etc.
- Loss of parents, a close friend in childhood.
- Difficulties at school, social isolation & loneliness in childhood.
- It may occur due to any bad experience.
- A child can fall into depression if he has been exposed to any violence or abuse.
- Due to a very negative self-image & physical illness.
- Side effects of some medicines can also increase the likelihood of depression too.
HOW TO SPOT DEPRESSION IN YOUR CHILD?
Depression is a type of illness. It affects the body, mood, and thoughts. A person who is suffering from depression won’t be able to sleep and eat properly. That’s why psychologically depressive disorders are characterized by pervasive mood changes that affect an individual’s daily functioning.
To cure this serious problem, we need to know the symptoms of anxiety & distress, so that we can spot out the signs of depression in our child.
Following are the symptoms:
- The sad part of childhood depression is that children don’t know how to cope with it. Your child will feel helpless & hopeless. He will speak less to others and his confidence level will fall down rapidly.
- Your child will feel like he is worthless there is nothing that he can do. He will avoid doing any new thing. He may lose his temperament and can get into frustration mode.
- Loss of appetite & energy is the most common signs of depression. Your child will say no, even to his favourite food. He will eat less, talk less and will not participate in discussions & conversations. It will drag him into the state of social isolation. It can also lead your child to severe fever & illness.
- He will stop participating in his daily activities. You will notice that your child is not going outside to play with his friends. He may spend his whole day in his room just by over thinking about his failure.
- He will start getting irritated on small issues.
- Depression can lead to sleeping problems like insomnia. Your child won’t be able to focus and concentrate on his studies and other activities.
- He may start hating himself, which is considered a very crucial stage of depression. In which your child might have the suicide thoughts.
PREVENTION & CURE FOR DEPRESSION
Every hour, a student commits suicide in India. 12% of our students between the age group of 4 and 16 suffer from psychiatric disorders. 20% of students show a sign of the mental disorder. Out of which 2-5 percent have a serious concern like autism or bipolar disorder. We don’t want our child to get in these serious problems.
Here we go with the full guide to prevent our children from depression and its risks:
BE INVOLVED BUT DON’T GET OVER INVOLVED
The risk of depression increases when a lack of parental involvement for their child decreases.
Parental involvement includes:
- Emotional support
- Engagement in child fun activities
- Monitoring their performance in school
- Knowing about their child’s friend zone, etc.
It is also important to track your child’s activities on social media. Being involved in your child’s activities will help you to observe any change in his behavior, which indicates towards anxiety and depression. Involvement is necessary for guiding your child, but excessive control over child thoughts and feelings increase the risk of depression. Being overprotective will make your child think that the outside world is very dangerous.
EXPRESS YOUR LOVE & AFFECTION
Our children are very delicate, if they are in depression, the presence of caring parents in their life will help them to fight it. It is because children always need a friendly and loving environment. Where they can open up themselves and share their problems with caring adults. Show your children regular physical affection by telling them that you love them a lot. Don’t expect too much from them instead of it, accept them for who they are.
Being a parent, take out some quality time for your child. To let him know that, you care about him a lot and you will always be there for him, whenever he needs you. This can be done by one-on-one conversation. Be a friend to your child, because not every child is expressive by nature. Some of them don’t like to share their secrets and deep feelings to anyone. Take your child for a walk or an ice cream treat to make a friendly environment for conversation. It will really help him to get rid of his anxiety, fears, and depression.
ENCOURAGE SUPPORTIVE RELATIONSHIP
Your child needs strong support when he is suffering from anxiety and depression. Thus, encourage your child to make supportive relationships. For instance, extended family, friends, teachers, coaches and other adults. So, that he would never feel alone and hopeless. He can interact & share his problem with them if he needs it. It reduces the risk of clinical anxiety and depression. Try to set a good example by building strong and positive relations among family members.
ENCOURAGE GOOD HEALTH HABITS
Encourage your child to develop good health habits for his diet, exercise, and sleep. Don’t let them have too much screen time. It is scientifically proven that the children who take a balanced diet, sleeps for full 8 hours and do physical exercise are less likely to fall in depression & Clinical anxiety. Encourage them to do breathing exercise with meditation. It will help them become mentally healthy.
AVOID CONFLICTS AT HOME
A home full of anger & aggressive interactions, whether verbal or physical, fills a kind of fear inside a child, especially, when parents fight with each other. It actually sets a bad example for your children that it is very difficult to be in any relationship. Frequent fights can push your child into a very serious depression because he can start to hate about his existence. As far as possible, try to make the family environment a supportive and safe place for your child.
Most of the parents practice physical and verbal punishment to make their children understand the consequences. It is very important to note that physical, emotional and sexual abuse increases the risk of depression & anxiety. So, avoid using physical punishment and verbal aggression with your child. If you have a bad habit of losing temperament on small issues, you should consult with a mental health professional or psychiatrist.
LET YOUR KID TO SOLVE IT ALONE.
We have a lot of reasons for getting distressed and anxious in our daily life. The parents cannot go everywhere with their children. One day they will be grown up and become an adult. You won’t be able to help them at every step of their life. They have to face problems on their own. Therefore, you have to make them strong and resilient. Teach them how to overcome their failure and learn from them. It can also be done by giving your children some sense of control so that they can practice decision making. And become independent to fight with their fears and depression.
SUPPORT KIDS’ SELF RESPECT
If your child has chosen something new for himself that he wants to do very passionately, respect it. As a parent, we all have some concern about our children’s future and career. Counsel them, but never force your choices on them, because one of the biggest causes of depression in teenagers is the generation gap between parents and children. It is also one of the causes of a student’s suicide in India. Firstly, students get suppressed under parents’ demand and choices. Then they get into a very crucial stage of depression. That’s why you should always support your child for his choice and achievements.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
If you’ve noticed a very big and sudden change in your child’s mood and your interventions are not giving any positive response. Then it is time to contact a professional to solve it. Child specialist psychiatrist can handle the case of a behavioural change in your child. Please don’t think that it’s like admitting that your child has lost his mind. Rather, he might if you neglect this.
So, call a psychiatrist as soon as possible.