Raising children, in today’s society, can be a challenging endeavor. Children are introduced to information and experiences at a much younger age. Stressors and exposure to traumatic situations are at a high. Parents and caregivers are often confused and unsure of how best to raise a child who will be emotionally healthy, well-adjusted, but also able to deal effectively with issues such as peer pressure, bullying, self-worth, and successful academic performance.
Children today, more than ever, need to feel safe. They need structure to rely on in the midst of a continuously changing culture. Often parents are unsure of how best to provide this kind of environment in the midst of a chaotic society. Trained therapists can help parents with these issues and help a child develop healthy relationship and coping skills. Therapy with a well-trained therapist has lasting effect.
Brown University reported in 2002 that many parents do not recognize the symptoms of depression in their children. They found that even parents who have good communication with their children do not necessarily realize it when a child is depressed (The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, Vol. 18, No 4, April 2002). Parents should be particularly aware of the risk of depression in children who have had long-term or chronic illnesses, who have been abused or neglected, have experience a recent trauma, or lost a loved one. The consequences of untreated depression can be increased incidence of depression in adulthood, involvement in the criminal justice system, or in some cases, suicide. Most of the research result in depression proved that it occurs more in earlier ages than in past decades.
If you are a parent with a child whose behavior has changed and negative patterns have existed for more than 2 weeks, please contact a local mental health practitioner with expertise in treating children and adolescents to further assess the situation. Depression responds best to therapy and other treatment when it is identified early.
Parents and other care takers are dedicated to getting yearly check-ups for every child’s physical and dental health. In our day and age is it time to consider if your child’s emotional, relational, and mental health deserve a “check-up”, too?