Being a parent is rewarding, but tough. One of the hardest things to deal with is your child’s pain. If your child is depressed, you probably are scared and feel helpless. Even I, with years of writing about and researching depression, have felt this way in the face of my son’s depression. There are some ways in which you can help your child, though.
1. Recognize that clinical depression is a disease.
Internalizing this fact will help your child in two ways. One, it will hopefully keep you from blaming yourself or your child. This is no one’s fault. Second, if you think of depression as a disease instead of a choice your child is making, you won’t say anything thoughtless like, “Why don’t you just pull yourself together,” “But what do you have to be depressed about?” or “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
2. Don’t freak out.
This will definitely not help your child. Clinical depression can be successfully treated more than 80% of the time. As long as your child has a good doctor and supportive parents, he or she has a very good chance of recovering. Notice that last part – while everyone with depression really needs a good doctor, supportive parents are absolutely critical for a child with depression.