Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Is Your Teen Depressed?

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Used for illustrative purposes only - SuperStock
I knew my daughter was struggling emotionally, but I had no idea about the extent of her depression.

“Do you know why I chose to drink last night?” my teenage daughter asked me at the end of a long night that all parents wish they never have to experience.

“No, why?” I asked.

“Because I don’t want to feel,” she said.

I prayed. God, I don’t know what to do! You have to show me.

That morning was a defining moment. I knew my daughter was struggling emotionally, but until that comment, she had masked her pain, and I had no idea about the extent of her depression. The following months — and even years, as depression entered our home again with one of her brothers — were a learning curve for me.

As someone who has never experienced depression, I had to resist the urge to tell my daughter to “snap out of it” because it wasn’t just a matter of her being sad. Depression often involves a chemical imbalance that needs to be addressed medically. Though she was able to move to the other side of depression without medication, my son may need medication for much of his life.

In parenting a child with depression, I had to find the root of the issue. The symptoms may include acting out, withdrawing, engaging in risky behavior or anger. Certainly the symptoms have to be addressed and consequences for poor choices given, but I also had to be in tune when behaviors were really a cry for help and a way to communicate feelings that my teens couldn’t verbalize. So I had to do things like watch for evidence of cutting: scars or cuts on the inside of the arm, drops of blood on bed sheets or their always wearing long sleeves, even in hot weather.

Seeking help 

A network of support becomes necessary when walking alongside a teen with depression. Our network included our pediatrician, a counselor, church youth leaders, our pastor and even the parents of my teens’ friends, who kept their eyes and ears open for alarming comments or behaviors.

My son had two friends who also communicated with me to help keep him safe from hurting himself. Still, a hospital stay in the mental health unit was needed on two occasions when he became a danger to himself. Through the experience, I learned that the nearest emergency room is the place to go immediately when there is a threat of self-harm.

I was grateful both of my teens were willing to talk to counselors, but I also know of teens who went kicking and screaming. One mom made her daughter, who was struggling with an eating disorder, go to counseling weekly. The teen refused to talk to the counselor for the first three sessions, so the counselor quietly waited with her. Finally during the fourth session, she opened up.

Showing empathy 

Dealing with my teens’ depression taught me to be a better listener. I learned to listen without correcting or fixing, or even making suggestions. Even though it was difficult with my “fix it” personality, I listened with empathy, responding with statements such as, “I’m sure that is hard,” “It must be so difficult to see things in such a dim light,” and “When your heart hurts, my heart hurts.” These kinds of responses provided an emotionally safe place for my teens to talk. Empathy speaks love and acceptance when someone desperately needs it.

As my teens struggled with depression, my own fears and insecurities came to the surface. I like to be in control, and there was little in my control when my children were dealing with emotional issues. I had to be careful not to take their choices personally, not to feel like a failure or make this about me or our family. They weren’t trying to embarrass me or “get back at me.” They were hurting teens who needed help.

Two years after our daughter’s year of depression, she told me, “Back then, there was a fire inside me. The school principal and people at church were just dismissive, essentially saying, ‘You’re making it smoky in here,’ but you and Dad tried to figure out what was causing the fire. I know it wasn’t easy, but I love you for that.” 

Jill Savage is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home and is the co-author of No More Perfect Kids.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!