Parents with depressed teens may think that when the holidays come around and they get to go on Christmas Break, things will start to look up. However, this isn’t necessarily the case and sometimes when teens’ moods don’t get better during the holidays, parents have a hard time understanding why. This is especially true for parents who have never suffered from depression themselves. So, in order to help you get through the holiday season with a teen suffering with depression, I’ve provided you with a few tips that may help.
1. Don’t Over-Expect. This is something many parents do when the holidays come around, especially those with depressed teenagers. They assume that moods will improve and things will look up for their teens just because it’s Christmas. The truth is that you teen may desperately want to be happy again, but depression doesn’t always work that way. Therefore, don’t be unrealistic about how your teen will (or should) act during the season.
2. Keep Them Busy.Depression has an uncanny way of festering when the person suffering from it spends a lot of time alone. This is especially true for teenagers during Christmas break because they are used to being in school for most of the day and only being along for a few hours before the rest of the family gets home. Therefore, look for social activities for your teen to participate in while you are at work…it may even help if you encourage your teen to get a part-time job. And, at night, include your teen in the things the rest of the family is doing. Make a point to make your teen feel included.
3. Stay Positive.Depression often brings a negative outlook to those suffering from it and it can be passed on to others subjected to it. However, it’s important that you help offset the effects of depression by remaining positive when talking and interacting with your teenager. Don’t be overly optimistic or fake about it, but try to point out the good in certain situations and have a cheerful attitude when talking to your teen. It can be easy to focus on the negative with your teen, but this will not help the situation at all.
4. Continue Therapy and Medication. The holidays are an incredibly busy time of year for everyone, especially those of us with kids. It can be easy to push things back “just until Christmas is over,” but when you’re talking about your teen’s depression and its corresponding therapy/medication, this should not be an option. Make sure you keep your teen on schedule for his/her therapy sessions and that he/she is continuing to take his/her medication regularly.
Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen This toolkit offers parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.