Location: Bradley Hospital

Bradley Hospital

Depression: How Parents Can Help

Parents sometimes unintentionally add to a child's depression. However, blaming yourself is not productive. Even parents who pay close attention to their children's behavior can miss signs of vulnerability, and professionals have difficulty at times.

Following these steps, on an ongoing basis, can help:

  • Talk to your children and try to understand their feelings.
  • Listen when they want to talk, and take them seriously.
  • Show love and concern openly so there is little chance that your feelings will be mistaken.
  • Trust your instincts. If you sense something is wrong, ask your child directly about your suspicion.
  • Build your child's self-esteem with complimentary words and actions as positive reinforcement.
  • Do not dismiss disruptive behavior as attention-seeking. Check out the underlying cause.
  • Do not discount your child's negative feelings. Saying "you shouldn't feel that way" rarely helps.
  • Do not let fear make you silent. Talk to your child.