How to Help Children with Depressed Parents

If you are a parent and suffer from depression, it is important to recognize that your child will notice. Children are very sensitive and can pick up on the changes within the home even if they have not been verbally addressed. If they do not understand what is going on, they will often times experience stress, anxiety, or even act out with tantrums or other behavioral problems.

If you are a parent and are suffering from depression, the first thing you need to do for yourself and for your child is to seek immediate help. Do not delay! The longer you wait to get proper help, the bigger the problem will get for you and your child. Depression is treatable.

The second step is to explain the situation to your child. You do not have to go into great details or share your personal experience with them. That would only be damaging to them. Ask a mental health professional for suggestions on how to go about having this discussion with your child. In the course of your conversation with them, explain to them that the way you feel is NOT their fault. Children tend to blame themselves, thinking that maybe they did something to make their parent feel that way. Reassure them that this is not true.

Regularly tell your child how much you love them. Those 3 words are incredibly powerful and will help your child get through this difficult time.

Encourage your child to talk about how they feel. They may struggle talking to you about it because they may feel that you will take it personally. Help them to find a safe person that they can share their feelings with. It could be your spouse, a relative, a school counselor, or doctor. Depending on the situation, they may need professional help to cope. Do not be ashamed to get your child the proper care. You are not a failure if you do so. You are actually do the best thing a parent can do.

If you have depression, you may not feel that you are setting a good example as a parent, but if you take these steps, you are! You are teaching your child to not be afraid of their feelings, to speak out, and to seek help. Be assured that over time, both you and your child will be able to overcome your depression!

For more information, visit Overcoming Depression.

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