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
- Brain chemistry changes
- Presence of other mental health problems
- Learning disabilities
- 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
- 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.
3 Reasons to Keep Old Family Photos
The decision of whether or not to hang onto family keepsakes is often an emotional one. We can be torn between the need to declutter and the guilt of getting rid of memories. And in the case of family photos, this decision is even harder. After all, they are things you can never replace once they’re gone. For that reason and many more, most people decide to keep them and just find creative ways to store them. But in case you’re still on the fence, here are just a few good reasons not to throw them away.
Old family photos preserve history
The first photograph was taken in 1826 or 1827 by a man in France. It was created using a method he was experimenting with, called heliography. At this point and for many years after, all photos were produced on tin plates. But what’s amazing to realize is that before this, the only images of our ancestors would be pictures people drew. This was a rare skill usually reserved for people of royalty and wealth.
While your family photos might not date back that far, the history of the photograph is still pretty valuable. Without them, we wouldn’t have the clear view of events, trends, and history we do today. Old photos can give us a glimpse into other eras and help us discover what people wore, drove, and ate. But aside from that, these pictures tell your history, which is something that can be passed down to the next generations.
There are many convenient ways to store old photos
Lack of storage space is why many people choose to dispose of keepsakes, clutter, and old photos. But with today’s technology, there’s no need to worry about that. With the development of cloud photo storage, you can easily upload thousands of images to access any time and from anywhere you want. This also makes it easy to share your photos with family members through email or other methods. You can also print any out that you wish by uploading them to a local or mail-in photo lab.
But if you’d rather not destroy the originals, you can also purchase organizers for your prints. Many photo supply stores sell storage systems, such as sectioned boxes, acid-free albums, or plastic files where you can neatly stack and sort the prints for compact storage in small spaces. Of course, even if you do choose to keep the physical copies, it’s still a good idea to scan them into a cloud-based system for back up.
Old photos make great artwork
If you have any open spaces you’d like to decorate, old family photos are a great solution. You can have them professionally enlarged and framed, or you can have them made into canvas prints. Canvas prints are perfect for spots over the fireplace or large walls that you can’t quite seem to fill, but they’re also much cheaper than framed and matted prints or expensive artwork you might purchase from a local vendor. The statement they make is much more personal and elegant than any piece of art you can buy.
If you’re fortunate enough to still have a piece of your family’s history preserved through old photos, don’t take it for granted. Some people never have the chance to see these types of images because their photos were lost or destroyed. Take the time to preserve these memories to pass down to your children. They’re an important part of your past and your family should be able to cherish for generations to come.
A Unique Travelling Experience for the Family
With spring break currently in full force and summer just around the corner, you and your family may be using the free time to plan for a big vacation during the extended summer holidays.
If going to Disneyland or another theme park sounds too typical or superficial, then you can look at the options for short-term educational tours.
Centered around the concept of offering a diverse range of educational fun for the whole family, these tours can prove to be the perfect mix of knowledge and joy for all ages.
To help you form an informed opinion about taking an education tour, here are a few reasons why such a tour could be a fun, enthralling and unique travelling experience for your family.
It Can Provide Firsthand Experiences
Developed with the very thought of teaching through different aspects, an educational tour lets you and your family learn new things during your travels.
You are no longer limited to using your imagination to interpret someone else’s words or using your vision to appreciate a picture on your screen. Instead of only reading about faraway places and their various traits, you can actually experience them firsthand by living through them together with your family. This allows you to use all of your senses to experience things as they are in real life.
This lets you and your family have a greater understanding of what it actually feels like to be in a place instead of just reading about it. That by itself enables all of you to use that experience in a variety of aspects such as work, school and personal life.
It Lets You Appreciate What is There in the World
Whether you are learning about the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu or getting Spanish lessons from locals in Ecuador, an educational tour can introduce you to newfound appreciation and understanding of different cultures and places.
This makes sure that you are no longer limited to filtered sources of information. You can learn the basics of several languages, study the topics of various cultures, and absorb the knowledge of how life is in different places of the world.
It lets you and your family develop empathy for the planet and its inhabitants, and that allows you to make better decisions in your everyday lives.
It Makes You More Confident
Traveling to different places and learning about the life there doesn’t only educate you from a perspective of knowledge, but it also helps you grow from a personal aspect.
Since you and your family members are able to learn through different experiences of various people and explore sights that you have never traveled before, all of you get to grow more confident, perceptive and knowledgeable from the experience.
As such, you are ready to take on any challenges that life throws your way. The older people in your family could learn to apply these skills at their workplace, while younger members could use this assertiveness during their school and college with ease. All in all, it helps you boost your performance, and lets you apply your newly gained education in various aspects of life.
Drag Your Kids Into Nature. It’s Good For Health and Wellbeing
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.