Yes. Just like adults, children too can get depressed. It is the mental illness that drags the sufferer to emotional lows, and they are as prone to it as are adults. It is a common misconception that children are carefree and that they can never be depressed. Children are the purest of all and sure are carefree, but there are things that bother and upset them as well. Things like lack of attention, peer pressure, society pressure, parents’ expectations, serious illness, loss of a loved one, etc can stress and hurt them a lot and if not handled by elders the proper way, can pave the road to depression for them.
Kids react slightly different than adults when upset or in depression. They show more anger and aggression in situations where anyone normal wouldn’t. Whereas adults tend to be more sad and serious as they are better capable to hide their anger at times.
We should know that all kids go through the normal blues, that is feeling low for some time, due to little things and feel all the other emotions as they grow and experience life. But if sadness persists, then it is rather a serious matter that requires care and proper handling.
So here are a few points that can help differentiate between the normal blues and depression.
- long periods of sadness and quietness
- Getting easily irritated
- Low energy, laziness
- Loss of interest in hobbies and other activities
- Abrupt changes in sleeping and eating pattern
- Him being very clingy and not wanting to leave your side OR him distancing himself from you, avoiding you
- Talking ill about himself or doubting his own self and capabilities
- Having difficulty in focusing on studies.
- Complains of headaches.
These are just a few of the main ones that when any of these are noticed, should be enough to raise a red flag and call for immediate help. You can take the following steps if you ever doubt your child getting into such a place.
- Pay attention to your child and help him solve his problems
Spend more time with him than you usually do. If you have a busy schedule, try to take time out for him as he is your child and is more important than anything else in this world. If you’re unable to, then just be present with him in whatever time you’re spending together. Paying attention, to kids, equals the same as spending more time together, talking, listening, playing, etc. Talk to him in the kindest and softest way possible and have fun with him. This will make him confident enough to share what’s troubling him with you. And you should always help him find a solution to his problems and let him think for solutions himself as it is important for the healthy development of mind. And then guide him to what’s the best solution and tell him why.
- Have a healthy environment
Providing the child with the best possible environment is a parents duty that he is bound to fulfil. You should try your best to have a happy and calm environment at home especially, and stay away from arguments, shouting, or any other type of violence as this has a very adverse effect on the child’s brain and so, mental health. Do it for the sake of your child. Let go of your partner’s shortcomings or even better is to discuss it with your partner in a polite manner. This will not only have a positive effect on your child but your partner as well and you’ll soon see a great difference.
- Exercise, outdoors, friends
Encourage your child to do light exercises daily. This will instantly boost his energy and so he’ll feel better and active throughout the day and will easily be able to do what he’s supposed to.
Take him outdoors, to gardens, parks, etc. This lightens the mood and is very refreshing. This will significantly lower his anger and sadness. What’s even better is his friends coming too. It’s best for him. Although it will be a bit difficult for him due to his mood once he starts playing he’ll soon be stress-free and enjoy it without even knowing.
- Seek help from a professional
This is as important as parents’ help. Most of the times, parents wouldn’t accept that their child is or maybe is suffering from depression. They just keep denying it even if they’re aware of the truth. This leads to not seeking help from a professional psychiatrist and so, the parents fail to give the child what’s best for him. Parents have to understand the fact that they’re doing harm to their child and making him suffer even more than less, due to not accepting the mental illness.
So set an appointment and trust the procedure to do its job. This will surely prove to be the best for your child and he’ll be fine soon.