by Lesley Adams, Behavioral Health Counselor
Moody or Depressed: What today’s teens are going through
In today’s Counseling Corner, we briefly explore depression and how that differs from “moody”. As our teens open up more about the anxiety, social pressure and depression they are feeling, the more opportunities we have as parents to help children grow their critical thinking and independent living skills to adapt and overcome. As we get into the second half of the semester, you may be wondering if your teen is going through the normal, age appropriate mood swings or if there is a bigger issue going on? The biggest mistake a parent can make is not to ask their teenager what is going on or assuming their teen won’t talk to them. Most students are open to talking, exploring their feelings and opening up to those around them.
A New York Times article highlighted statistics of today’s depression rates while also offering parents some insight on how to guide their children to become their own problem solvers. The most helpful advice is to identify the core issue through active listening with your child while also refraining from the impulse to solve their problem and rescue them. It can be challenging to watch your children struggle, but this gives them the chance to learn about themselves, develop resiliency skills and be successful in the future.
This is not to say we are not looking for some warning signs to bigger concerns. Most teenagers have mood swings that are developmentally and emotionally appropriate which include manageable stress around school, fitting in with peers and being able to juggle it all. But when is it too much? If your teen is beginning to be reclusive from friends, family or all previously enjoyed social activities, sleeping more than before, struggling with motivation for attending school or their appetite has changed, these can be red flags to a bigger issue. All of these signs are dependent on each particular person and can’t be compared to other children you may have, so be diligent in asking questions, offering support and consider seeking a professional who can assist you and your family together.
Here at NDP, we have a caring counseling team to assist our students with an array of issues to get them on the road to college and a happy, healthy life.
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