Childhood Depression

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Childhood Depression

If you have a feeling that your child is struggling with depression, pay attention to that feeling and take action. It's no joke. Many children do struggle with depression. And keep in mind that that doesn't mean that they're always going to look depressed. A child that's not doing well emotionally can still laugh at times and play with friends. If your instinct tells you something's wrong, then sit down with your child and say, "sweetie, I get the feeling that you're not really your happy self. And I want to hear all about it." What you want to communicate, which is this notion that I talk about in my book, that you're the captain of the ship, that you're the best person for them to bring whatever they're struggling with for guidance and help. You want to let them know that you understand. Don't try to cheer them up with happy platitudes. But say, "I can see that that's been hard for you. Oh, and that too. Oh, honey." You want to help a child cry, be comforted in your harms, and if need be get professional help. Most of all though, you want to let them know that you're going to stay with them, stick by them, and with your help, they'll get through this and come back to their better, happier times.

Watch Susan Stiffelman, MFT's video on Childhood Depression...


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Susan Stiffelman, MFT

Author & Therapist

Susan Stiffelman is the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and the weekly parenting advice columnist at the Huffington Post. You can sign up for Susan's free parenting newsletter. 

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