4 Tips for Explaining Depression to Children
It’s normal for kids to feel sad at times. However, when the negativity continues over an extended period of time and affects children’s lives, alarm bells should start to go off. In these cases, keep these key tips in mind when it comes to explaining depression to children.
Depression is a mood disorder that interferes with children’s energy and life in general. As a consequence, kids who suffer from it may lose interest in certain activities, and school work, seem tired, or give up easily.
It’s very important to talk with your child as soon as the problem is diagnosed. Don’t forget that kids can reject or even ignore how they feel. It’s important to listen, offer your support, and show your love so that your children feel comfortable opening up to you and telling you what they’re feeling.
Likewise, it’s a good idea to see a pediatrician with your children. That will allow the doctor to evaluate whether there is some other cause that has symptoms similar to depression.
You should also make sure that your children eat a healthy diet, sleep enough, and get some physical exercise every day.
4 tips for explaining depression to children
These are the basic attitudes that will help when it comes to explaining depression to children.
1. Be compassionate
The first tip for explaining depression to children is to be compassionate. This means that children should know that you recognize and respect their feelings.
Even if you don’t understand what they’re thinking very well, avoid making any comments that might make them feel badly. Keep in mind that certain negative opinions will only make children keep their feelings to themselves or get defensive.
2. Be a good listener
Allowing your children to speak openly and express their opinions and thoughts is one of the most important steps to avoid any type of depression. When you succeed in getting children to express their feelings, don’t interrupt them, judge them, or scold them.
If children know that they have someone at home they can confide in, this will help them resolve their emotions.
“Victory is always possible for those who refuse to give up fighting.”–Napoleon Hill–
3. Be aware of the child’s age
If you’re trying to explain depression to children, make sure they understand what you’re saying, and don’t feel confused or bored with the conversation. Likewise, make sure that you’re using words that they can understand.
Being conscious of children’s ages is vital for adapting the conversation. It’s also a good idea to avoid words like “depression” or “emotions” because they can be too complex for young children.
4. Be positive
Finally, keep your conversation about depression positive. Depression is a serious illness that causes both emotional and physical pain, and can have serious consequences.
However, if you maintain a positive and hopeful attitude in your conversations, you’ll avoid unnecessarily alarming children. Having an open line of communication about mental health and specifically depression is clearly an important preventative measure with our children.
Finally, remember that it’s important to spend time with your child doing activities that you both enjoy. Fostering positive attitudes and ways of thinking helps children overcome all that comes along with depression.
In addition, it’s important to be patient and kind. It’s normal for parents to feel frustrated and angry. But your child’s behavior is part of the depression, it isn’t intentional disrespect.
So don’t fight with children who are depressed or use harsh words. Be understanding. With patience and good communication you’ll help strengthen your child’s recovery!