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Warning Signs Your Teen Might Be Depressed

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Almost every teen goes through difficult periods of adjustment as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood. For parents, one of the biggest challenges during this period is sorting out normal “teenage angst” from more serious problems like depression. To help, here’s a basic guide explaining what you need to know.

What causes depression?

For any person, clinical depression is a serious issue that affects every area of life. There is often no single cause for depression, but contributing factors include:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Inherited traits
  • Trauma
  • Brain chemistry changes
  • Presence of other mental health problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Bullying
  • Academic performance difficulties

When depression is not treated promptly, it can lead to significant complications. Untreated depression drives people into relationship conflicts, alcohol abuse, academic and work performance issues, and in worst cases, self-harm and attempted suicide.

For teens, depression can be especially devastating since they lack the life experience and emotional maturity to help them recognize and deal with their emotions. Depression is a serious issue, and depression among teens has grown exponentially in the social media age.

What symptoms indicate my teen might be depressed?

There are a number of symptoms which could indicate depression, and it’s important to be familiar with them. Here are some of the most important:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of energy
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability or anger
  • Increased isolation
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Constant aches and pains
  • Lack of interest in things they enjoyed previously
  • Persistent negative thinking
  • Persistent sadness
  • Oversensitivity to criticism
  • Thoughts or talk of death and suicide
  • Substance abuse

All of the above symptoms can be a normal part of the healthy teenage experience. As teens move from childhood into the responsibilities and complexities of adult life, they may naturally find themselves feeling sad, fatigued, hopeless, or overly sensitive.

And the fact that they are currently undergoing physiological changes in their growing bodies doesn’t make things any easier for them. The key for parents is noticing when these symptoms move from normal to concerning. 

When are these symptoms most serious?

Parents should consider the duration of the symptoms, how intense they are, and which areas of life they affect. Reflecting on symptoms in light of these areas can help parents decide whether their teen is experiencing normal growing pains or something else — and whether they should seek help for their child in depression treatment centers for teenagers.

Area of life: It is quite normal for teens to express frustration, impatience, and anger at their family or toward others they feel they can confide in, yet reign all that in when around their friends or those they admire. They may be willing to let their family see how sad they are but they put up a more positive front around classmates.

If these feelings and outbursts are starting to spill out into every area of life, this means your teen is struggling much more to control their sadness or anger. It is pervading their life and making it increasingly difficult to function.

Intensity: Teens will experience nearly all the symptoms listed above at some point, usually in thoughts that come and go. For parents, this can seem frustrating as it may be hard to predict a teen’s mood from day to day.

When the sad or negative feelings become chronic, even if they are mild, then parents should be concerned. This can quickly progress from mild, chronic sadness to feelings so intense the teen may be unable to get out of bed or may have suicidal ideations.

Duration: The final area of concern is how long symptoms have persisted. If a teen is sad or angry one day followed by several good days, this is likely nothing to be concerned about. If the breaks seem to be getting shorter, or if the bad mood persists for two weeks or more, it is possible that the teen is suffering from depression and needs professional help.

If you suspect your teenager is experiencing something more than normal teenage emotional upheaval, don’t hesitate to get them professional help. The vast majority of people who get help for depression respond well and recover.

Hey all! Big thanks to Katy Blevins for handing over the reins to me at the end of 2017 to fulfill my new years resolution to write...often! Based in Miami, you can find me blogging about family life as a mother of two young kids. But i'll also continue the Chaos and Kiddos theme of business, fashion, parenting, product reviews, and...well, I could go on and on.

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Family

Drag Your Kids Into Nature. It’s Good For Health and Wellbeing

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Studies show that spending two hours a week in nature is good for the health and wellbeing of adults and children. 

In contrast, spending too much time in front of a screen surrounded by the proverbial concrete jungle is detrimental to psychological and physical wellbeing. 

Sitting for long periods with no exercise has been linked to debilitating diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Experts also conclude that too much screen time causes, near-sightedness, insufficient sleep, headaches and obesity – all of which can have a negative effect on the psychological maturity of children. 

If your kids are devouring too much screen and not enough green, its high time you dragged them into nature. The short-term and long-term health depends on it. 

Connecting with Nature Connects You With People 

Several studies have shown that connecting with nature is therapeutic. The Japanese understand this so well that ‘forest bathing’ or shinrin-yoku is deeply ingrained in their culture. 

Although scientists are not sure how or why, but it appears humans have an intrinsic connection with the natural environment. You probably know from experience that being in the great outdoors restores your energy and vitality.

If you can’t escape the concrete jungle by heading out into the countryside or mountains, take advantage of green spaces near your home. Even playing in the park gives you children an opportunity to connect and socialise with other kids in your neighbourhood – and any type of non-internet related connection is good for their development. 

Nature Reduces Stress and Anxiety 

Researchers have discovered that being around nature reduces stress, fear and anger. Living in these unprecedented times, children probably feel more emotional and afraid than they might ordinarily. 

During the lockdown and school closures, there is also more of a tendency for your children to watch TV more often, playing computer games, or spending more time on social media and the internet. More screen time is potentially damaging to their wellbeing. 

Heading out into nature will help to distract their minds from the concerns they have about Covid-19. Being outdoors feels more natural to children, and psychologists recommend that you should try to make life as normal as possible. 

Encourages Children To Develop A Healthy Lifestyle

We often take the experiences and habits we develop as children into adulthood. By nature, we are habitual creatures and reenact similar behaviours throughout life. 

Teaching the little ones positive and healthy behaviours from an early age stands them in good stead when they get older. Show your children the benefits of being in nature now and they are more likely to make an effort to head for the hills when they are older. They will also be a better influence on their children – your grandchildren. 

I appreciate nature walks may not be all that appealing to kids. However, I have a cunning plan. Why not introduce a variety of games to play that are fun, help to educate your kids and give them plenty of exercise. If you need some ideas of fun games to play with children in nature, check out this awesome list

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Baby Shower Ideas: What’s a Sip and See?

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Baby showers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes these days. You have parties that are all about revealing the gender of a new baby, and traditional parties where men aren’t allowed to attend. One of the more interesting options to emerge in recent months is the Sip and See party. 

Essentially, this is a chance to have family members and friends over for a lighthearted party, where they get to meet the new baby or child soon after they’ve been welcomed into the world. These parties are also excellent for welcoming newly adopted children to the family. 

A sip and see can be an excellent way for exhausted parents to introduce their new child to everyone at once, rather than arranging multiple visits. 

What Should a Sip and See Be Like?

It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between a baby shower and a sip and see. While the typical baby shower happens before the baby arrives, sip and see events happen afterwards. The sip and see needs to be a very casual and quiet event, as you won’t want to upset the new baby. The chances are that there won’t be as many decorations, but there should still be plenty of food and maybe some soft music to enjoy. 

Rather than having a venue for this party, you invite everyone to your own house, which means that you don’t have to rush around getting things ready for a party when you have a new baby to look after. 

One thing to keep in mind with a Sip and See, is that it’s less likely to have presents or gifts at this event. However, if your mom and dad to be didn’t have a baby shower for any reason, this is a great chance to give them the gifts that you haven’t had chance to get to them before. 

What to Consider When Hosting a Sip and See

If you decide to host a sip and see, then there are a lot of things to consider. These parties are often hosted by new parents themselves. However, if you’re a close friend or family member, then your loved one might ask them to host the event on their behalf – particularly if they’re too tired to work out an invite list and catering on their own. 

The invite list will usually be down to the parents, and who needs to see the baby most. However, if you’re inviting people on behalf of the parents, you can always ask them if someone enquires about an invitation. Other things to consider while you’re planning are:

  • Refreshments: The word “sip” indicates that there’s going to be some kind of refreshments. Think afternoon tea, rather than elaborate meals and lots of alcohol. 
  • Time frame: Make sure that people know exactly when the party is going to start, and when they’ll need to leave. Don’t leave it to the new parents to usher people out of the door when the new baby needs to go to sleep. 
  • Decorations: It’s fun to have decorations at any party, but you’ll want to keep these to a minimum in this case. Guests will be coming to see the baby, and the parents won’t want to have to spend forever cleaning up once people have gone. 
  • Games and entertainment: If you don’t want everyone to be waiting in a line to hold the baby or see the new arrival, you can introduce some games. People who are waiting around for their chance to see the new child could simply chat over some finger foods, however 

Enjoying your Sip and See Party

A sip and see party is a fantastic chance to take some pressure off new parents, who are often expected to parade their child around and show them off to countless people. With this kind of party, you can take the pressure off the parents, and invite people to come and visit on a specific day and time. 

If you’re helping parents that you’re close to with this party, one of the best things that you can do is assist with the tidying up portion of the event before and after the party. The mom and dad are going to be looking after the baby, so they’ll definitely want some help making sure that everything looks spic and span. 

It’s also helpful to have some hand sanitiser at the door, so that visitors can get their hands clean before touching the child. 

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Family

How Parents Can Look After Themselves Too!

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Parents are, understandably, focused most on the well-being of their children most of the time. That’s in the job description, after all. Yet, this doesn’t mean that moms and dads should neglect their own health, wellness, and/or happiness. On the contrary, no one can do their best parenting work if they feel tired, sore, or even depressed or anxious. With that in mind, today we’ll list a few excellent ways that parents can look after themselves to ensure they’re firing on all cylinders. Check them out here:

Speak to Your Doctor

Obvious? Yes. Effective? Absolutely. Visiting the doctor is far from a novel concept, but it’s very important for parents of all ages to speak with a medical professional on a regular basis –– particularly if they have a specific health concern. On a very basic level, doctors will be able to answer any questions you have about common issues. Can bunions go away on their own? When should I have a prostate exam? How much sleep should I get per night? A regular physician will be able to answer all of these questions and more –– so book an appointment ASAP.

Communicate

People don’t suddenly stop having needs and wants just because they become parents. Indeed, though parents spend a lot of time thinking and acting on behalf of others, they also need to express themselves. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns, frustrations, desires, and goals. Doing so is healthy, and communication is key to strong familial relationships.

Prioritize Health & Fitness

It’s easy to fall into some bad personal health and fitness habits if you’re spending most of your time and energy looking after children. Fast food, skipping gym sessions, and other bad choices are hard to avoid, but detrimental all the same. That’s why parents need to prioritize their own health and well-being. Schedule time during the day for preparing healthy meals for yourself and your family and get creative about finding new ways to exercise. You don’t actually have to leave your living room to squeeze in a great workout session.

“You Time”

At the end of the day, it’s important for parents to allow themselves to relax and spend some time alone. Blocking out “me time” doesn’t make you a bad parent or a selfish person. Rather, getting out of the house for a while to engage in an activity you enjoy all on your own will help you recharge your batteries and come back refreshed. If you’ve been feeling cramped during lockdown, then do your best to find a day where you can kick back and unwind for a few hours outside of the house. It’ll do you a world of good!

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