All of us have times in our lives when we feel downcast,
disheartened, and "blue."
But when do those occasional "blue" episodes cross over into depression? Depression
is a serious disorder that robs
teenagers of the energy, animation, and hope that is characteristic of adolescence.
The following symptoms may indicate
- Appetite disturbance: either decreased or significantly
- Sleep disturbance: either inability to sleep or a
significantly increased sleep pattern
- Low energy or fatigue
- No interest in doing anything
- Low self-esteem
- Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Depressed mood
Although all of us have experienced some of these symptoms
from time to time, a
person who is really depressed never seems to be free of the symptoms. If you can identify
three or more symptoms that
do not go away, you might be suffering from depression. A counselor will be able to tell
you if you are depressed and
then help you rid yourself of this painful disorder. If you think you're depressed, please
get help for
yourself. Depression is curable.
Many teenagers feel that the lines of communication with
their parents go dead 12 or 13 years into the relationship, just at the time when they
could really use guidance and input. Some parents are afraid that their son or daughter
will get into trouble, so they will restrict their activities at a time when their kids are
asking for more freedom. In order to be heard, each must listen to the other or the
communication that does come through often seems preachy, irrelevant, and one-sided
-- fit only for the garbage can!
Most parents would really like
to maintain good communications with their teenagers, but many
don't know how or, even worse, make the incorrect assumption
that their children no longer need or want to hear from them
now that they are teenagers. So, battle lines are drawn, and
silence descends. If this sounds familiar, here are some tips
to reestablish healthy, helpful ways of communicating
with your parents:
- First, keep in mind that communication is an interactive
process. You must clearly relate
your concerns and needs to your parents, because they aren't mind readers. When you say
clearly what's on your mind,
your parents will be encouraged to do the same.
- Second, after you have clearly told your parents about
your concerns and needs, your
must be prepared to repeat the message. I know, it's unfair! Parents should know what their
children need. The fact of the
matter is that most parents know some things their children need, but the rest remains a
mystery unless you share
the information. Repeat, repeat, repeat!!!
- Third, please listen to your parents' responses.
If communication is a two-way street,
then follow the rules of the communications road! Listen, analyze, and compromise.
When communication breaks down between
adolescents and parents, if you expect to be listened to, then you must in return listen to
what your parent is saying.
Fourth, if all else fails, talk to your parent,
trusted family friend or relative, or school guidance counselor about a referral for
family or individual counseling. This service can be invaluable in helping to
resolve issues that hinder communication between parent and teenager.