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Subtle signs your child is unhappy

Subtle signs your child is unhappy

According to figures from the World Health Organisation, more than 260 million people worldwide suffer from depression. And it's not only adults who are diagnosed with this illness. Children as young as three or four years old can experience depression.

But the signs of depression in children are subtle - the symptoms are not always the same as in adults, and they can be hard to spot. Older teenagers also may show signs that they are unhappy, and as a parent, you need to be able to identify them and how you can help your child.

Is it really depression?

If a child seems sad, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are depressed. All children experience the "blues" occasionally as they grow and develop. But if the sadness persists and interferes with school and their usual interests and activities, this may signify that they are suffering from depressive illness. Bear in mind that while this can be a severe condition, it's also very treatable, and you will be able to find help for your child.

Try to be a good, safe listener and non-judgemental. Provide support and point to positive options, including assistance from mental health specialists. Point out that everyone struggles with problems in their lives from time to time and try to normalise the concept of seeking help.

If there's a family history of depression, and if your child is old enough to understand, talk to your child about it. Doing this will help them realise that their depression isn't their fault.

The signs that your child is unhappy and may be depressed

The symptoms of depression in children vary significantly, and a child may not experience all of them or will experience different symptoms at different times. Look out for the following signs of unhappiness:

  • Anger or irritability
  • Continuously feeling sad or hopeless
  • Changes in appetite, eating less or more
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feeling rejected
  • Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or sleeping excessively)
  • Crying or vocal outbursts
  • Poor concentration
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Physical symptoms, e.g. stomach aches and headaches that do not respond to treatment
  • Difficulties with friends at home or school, or during events and hobbies.
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Impaired judgement
  • Suicidal thoughts

Although it is a rare occurrence in children under 12, younger children sometimes attempt suicide, which may be an impulse when they are angry or upset. Children with depressive symptoms and those with a family history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or sexual or physical abuse have a greater risk for suicide.

Children with depression may also begin using alcohol or drugs, especially if they are over 12.

Signs that your teen may be unhappy

The teenage years are sometimes characterised as a happy, carefree time, but this is not always the case - teens may struggle with similar life problems to adults. If you think your teen may be unhappy, here are some of the signs to watch out for:

Persistent sadness

One symptom of depression in teens is a deep sadness that lasts more than two weeks. In addition, teens with depression may have suicidal thoughts or talk about harming themselves by cutting or other methods.

If you think your teenager is not being open with you, reach out to their friends. Despite their best efforts, parents may be the last to find out that their child is suffering from depression. Friends can help spot signs and symptoms and warn the parents if their teenager is talking about death or suicide.

Changes in weight or eating habits

American researchers found that obese or overweight girls were almost twice as likely to be suffering from depression as girls with healthy body weight. So if your teen is unhappy and struggling with weight gain, it could be a symptom of depression.

Another sign is a change in eating habits, suddenly eating significantly less or more. Try to talk to your teenager about any problems bothering them.

Changes in activity levels and sleep patterns

Teenagers with depression frequently have changed sleep patterns. Some may sleep far more than expected, while others experience insomnia and have trouble sleeping.

Changes in energy levels and activity can also be symptoms of depression. For example, some teens may show agitated behaviour, pacing, wringing their hands or chewing their nails. Others may be lethargic, showing less activity and slower movements than usual.

Changes in behaviour and mood

Warning signs that your usually conscientious teenager is depressed include abusing drugs or alcohol, being promiscuous or getting into trouble with the law. In addition, teenagers may feel hopeless, worthless or guilty and develop a negative attitude. Depression may also cause them to be moody, over-sensitive and easily upset.

Sudden loss of self-esteem

Other signs of depression in teens include being dissatisfied with their appearance and spending far longer than usual getting ready to go out or school. They may constantly seek reassurance from family or teachers. Other signs that a teen is unhappy include feeling they are unlovable or of no value. Bach Flower Mix 66 can help teenagers overcome feelings of dejection and restore a positive self-image. Depressed teenagers often fall into a spiral of negative, self-critical thoughts, so take time to talk things over with your teenager and find out why they feel like this.

A final thought

If you are worried that your child is unhappy, encourage them to talk about what's bothering them. Sometimes a child will find it easier to talk to someone other than a parent, so you may find it helpful to ask a grandparent, teacher, uncle or aunt to help support your child. It can sometimes be challenging to get children to talk about their feelings, so spend time with them and look out for clues as they play. And finally, if you are still concerned for your child after talking things through, don't hesitate to get in touch with your family doctor for advice. A wide range of treatments is available to help your child be happy again.


Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/children-and-young-adults/advice-for-parents/talk-to-children-about-feelings/

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/understanding-depression.html

Created by Tom Vermeersch

Tom Vermeersch

Tom Vermeersch is a certified Psychologist and Bach flower expert with more than 30 years of experience.

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Subtle signs your child is unhappy

Subtle signs your child is unhappy
Subtle signs your child is unhappy

According to figures from the World Health Organisation, more than 260 million people worldwide suffer from depression. And it's not only adults who are diagnosed with this illness. Children as young as three or four years old can experience depression.

But the signs of depression in children are subtle - the symptoms are not always the same as in adults, and they can be hard to spot. Older teenagers also may show signs that they are unhappy, and as a parent, you need to be able to identify them and how you can help your child.

Bach flower mix 66: Teenagers in distress

Bach flowers mix 66 helps to:

  • Get you back into an active life
  • Remove the gloom and despondency
  • Calm you down and control your anger
  • Restore a positive self-image
  • Remove the suicidal thoughts you get
  • Socialize and to not be in isolation
Discover how Bach flowers mix 66 can help you

Is it really depression?

If a child seems sad, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are depressed. All children experience the "blues" occasionally as they grow and develop. But if the sadness persists and interferes with school and their usual interests and activities, this may signify that they are suffering from depressive illness. Bear in mind that while this can be a severe condition, it's also very treatable, and you will be able to find help for your child.

Try to be a good, safe listener and non-judgemental. Provide support and point to positive options, including assistance from mental health specialists. Point out that everyone struggles with problems in their lives from time to time and try to normalise the concept of seeking help.

If there's a family history of depression, and if your child is old enough to understand, talk to your child about it. Doing this will help them realise that their depression isn't their fault.

The signs that your child is unhappy and may be depressed

The symptoms of depression in children vary significantly, and a child may not experience all of them or will experience different symptoms at different times. Look out for the following signs of unhappiness:

  • Anger or irritability
  • Continuously feeling sad or hopeless
  • Changes in appetite, eating less or more
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feeling rejected
  • Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or sleeping excessively)
  • Crying or vocal outbursts
  • Poor concentration
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Physical symptoms, e.g. stomach aches and headaches that do not respond to treatment
  • Difficulties with friends at home or school, or during events and hobbies.
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Impaired judgement
  • Suicidal thoughts

Although it is a rare occurrence in children under 12, younger children sometimes attempt suicide, which may be an impulse when they are angry or upset. Children with depressive symptoms and those with a family history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or sexual or physical abuse have a greater risk for suicide.

Children with depression may also begin using alcohol or drugs, especially if they are over 12.

Signs that your teen may be unhappy

The teenage years are sometimes characterised as a happy, carefree time, but this is not always the case - teens may struggle with similar life problems to adults. If you think your teen may be unhappy, here are some of the signs to watch out for:

Persistent sadness

One symptom of depression in teens is a deep sadness that lasts more than two weeks. In addition, teens with depression may have suicidal thoughts or talk about harming themselves by cutting or other methods.

If you think your teenager is not being open with you, reach out to their friends. Despite their best efforts, parents may be the last to find out that their child is suffering from depression. Friends can help spot signs and symptoms and warn the parents if their teenager is talking about death or suicide.

Changes in weight or eating habits

American researchers found that obese or overweight girls were almost twice as likely to be suffering from depression as girls with healthy body weight. So if your teen is unhappy and struggling with weight gain, it could be a symptom of depression.

Another sign is a change in eating habits, suddenly eating significantly less or more. Try to talk to your teenager about any problems bothering them.

Changes in activity levels and sleep patterns

Teenagers with depression frequently have changed sleep patterns. Some may sleep far more than expected, while others experience insomnia and have trouble sleeping.

Changes in energy levels and activity can also be symptoms of depression. For example, some teens may show agitated behaviour, pacing, wringing their hands or chewing their nails. Others may be lethargic, showing less activity and slower movements than usual.

Changes in behaviour and mood

Warning signs that your usually conscientious teenager is depressed include abusing drugs or alcohol, being promiscuous or getting into trouble with the law. In addition, teenagers may feel hopeless, worthless or guilty and develop a negative attitude. Depression may also cause them to be moody, over-sensitive and easily upset.

Sudden loss of self-esteem

Other signs of depression in teens include being dissatisfied with their appearance and spending far longer than usual getting ready to go out or school. They may constantly seek reassurance from family or teachers. Other signs that a teen is unhappy include feeling they are unlovable or of no value. Bach Flower Mix 66 can help teenagers overcome feelings of dejection and restore a positive self-image. Depressed teenagers often fall into a spiral of negative, self-critical thoughts, so take time to talk things over with your teenager and find out why they feel like this.

A final thought

If you are worried that your child is unhappy, encourage them to talk about what's bothering them. Sometimes a child will find it easier to talk to someone other than a parent, so you may find it helpful to ask a grandparent, teacher, uncle or aunt to help support your child. It can sometimes be challenging to get children to talk about their feelings, so spend time with them and look out for clues as they play. And finally, if you are still concerned for your child after talking things through, don't hesitate to get in touch with your family doctor for advice. A wide range of treatments is available to help your child be happy again.


Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/children-and-young-adults/advice-for-parents/talk-to-children-about-feelings/

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/understanding-depression.html


Marie Pure

Other articles


10 Tips to get the best out of every day

10 Tips to get the best out of every day

When we’re stuck in a bit of a rut, the days and nights slip past so quickly that we barely notice them. But life is not a rehearsal!

Read the complete article

Letting go A guide for survivors

Letting go: A guide for survivors

Facing the loss of a family member or close friend is probably one of the most difficult challenges that life throws at us. When we've lost a partner, parent, brother or sister, we're likely to experience intense grief.

Read the complete article

Fact or fiction Is it truly healthy

Fact or fiction? Is it truly healthy?

There's so much contradictory health advice out there, it gets confusing. One year, butter is said to be bad for you, and margarine is better. The following year, it's the other way around. One article says running causes strain on your joints; another says it's good for you because it increases bone strength.

Read the complete article

How to spot toxic behaviour

How to spot toxic behaviour

You see the word "toxic" everywhere these days, but what does it really mean? You've almost certainly come across someone who fits the description. Dealing with difficult personalities can be challenging and emotionally exhausting, to say the least.

Read the complete article

Let's make 2021 better than 2020

Let's make 2021 better than 2020

For many people, 2020 has been one of the worst years they can remember. The COVID -19 pandemic and social unrest have changed our lives in ways we would not have believed possible a year ago. And when January 2021 comes around, we're still likely to be facing many challenges. Can 2021 be a better year?

Read the complete article

Top 5 nonsensical reasons to have doubts about yourself

Top 5 nonsensical reasons to have doubts about yourself

It happens to everyone at times: we start doubting ourselves. We worry about the decisions and whether we can face future challenges that life has in store. And sometimes we feel that we just aren't good enough.

Read the complete article

Do you think too much Or too little

Do you think too much? Or too little?

Feel like you overthink too much? Having a hard time making decisions? Or feel like you don’t consider your options enough? Find out how to strike a balance.

Read the complete article

Do We Label Too Fast

Do We Label Too Fast?

Nowadays, it can sometimes seem almost everyone has a mental health issue or learning disorder. But, are we too quick to label people, or is it that we are more aware of the problems? This article looks at some of the issues surrounding these sensitive questions.

Read the complete article

I don't want to!

I don't want to!

Motivation can be somewhat elusive - some days, you just can't seem to make yourself do the stuff you don't want to. But putting things off just leads to stress, frustration and a sense of guilt.

Read the complete article

How to beat irrational anxieties

How to beat irrational anxieties

Irrational anxieties can seem overwhelming, affecting every aspect of your life. Learn how to beat your fears and worries and take back control.

Read the complete article

Bach Flowers are not medicinal but harmless plant extracts which are used to support health.

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