Child depression is often undiagnosed and untreated because it is passed off as normal emotional and psychological changes that occur during growth. However, like any other medical condition, depression grows. It is vital that we slay this repulsive dragon before it consumes our children.
Here are 10 signs and symptoms of depression and how to deal with them before your child becomes depressed.
Irritability or anger
When your child is agitated and angry it is imperative that you step in, calm them down, and then find out the cause. You need to do this in a manner whereby you show your child that they have your full support, and he or she will in turn trust and open up to you.
Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness
If your child is continuously sad and feeling hopeless it is most certainly up to you as the parent to give them something to smile about. Reasoning with them when things affect them emotionally immediately creates a sign of hope.
You have got to allow your child their social space and in the same breath question why, when they don’t make use of it. Sometimes it’s a good thing to arrange secret get together with your child’s friends at home if they become too antisocial. This surprise will force them to get interacting again in no time.
An increase or decrease in appetite
Realising a noticeable change in your child’s appetite is absolutely necessary. This could either mean that your child is ill or that he or she is depressed. As a concerned parent you should never allow a child to stop eating and you should also put restraints on unhealthy eating. This is why ensuring that your child is eating their required 3 meals a day with snacks in between is imperative. This is where a family table-setting dinner and breakfast should come into play everyday.
Sleeplessness or excessive sleep
The sleeping pattern of your child initially reveals a lot about what they are going through. Anxiety or illness is often the cause for insomnia or excessive sleeping. If your child isn’t ill, this means that you need to implement a more hands on approach and identify what their anxiety is and thereafter find ways to deal with it.
Vocal outbursts or crying
In these situations, the most ideal way to handle the problem is by maintaining composure. Keeping cool, calm and collected is of essence and will allow the child the space to calm down. Whereas, yelling and use of vulgar language will only add fuel to the fire that burns rage.
Fatigue and low energy
Fatigue and low energy, although commonly related to illness is actually controlled by the type of mindset we have. Motivation and anticipation will not result in fatigue or low energy. This ultimately suggests that if your child is displaying these symptoms, you need to motivate and show your support more often.
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Sometimes children’s self-esteem drops to a point where they feel like they have become a burden and nothing they do will turn out favourable. This attitude is brought about by continual negativity. The moment you see your child displaying these symptoms, you should step up and start introducing a positive atmosphere in all aspects of your child’s life. This will immediately turn the tables.
Impaired thinking or concentration
A distracted child who regularly day-dreams and is being continuously amused by silly things is a child you need to pay close attention to. Something is hampering their concentration and you need to get to the bottom of it by monitoring and showing your child that you are indeed aware of their distractions. However, make them wary by showing that you’d like to know if there is any way you can assist them to make it better.
Thoughts of death or suicide
This is the stage we should never even allow our children to reach. But this isn’t avoidable, and isn’t always a result of the situation at home, but more often by the social situations our children are faced with in the outside world. The only way to deal with this is by doing so realistically. Providing your child with hope and all the reasons why they should live instead of whining about all the reasons they are considering suicide is an instant dose of positive and the correct way to go.
Not all children display all of these symptoms at once. In fact, most will display different symptoms at different times and in different settings. At Sugar Bay Resort we don’t let depression put any of our campers down. We realise that it’s not the problem itself which needs a direct approach, but more the way we handle it. We handle depression by having lots of fun and tackling situations indirectly, by which, in the end, after final campfire, we get to hear how these depression dragons were slayed by children themselves.