How To Help My Daughter With Depression

How To Help My Daughter With Depression


As a dad, it really tugs at my
heartstrings anytime someone calls me and asks how do I help my depressed
teenage daughter? I’ve got some pointers today. Teen depression, it’s become a big
concern. In fact, suicide is the number three cause of death for people under
the age of 25. That’s pretty significant. Now not all
depressed teens are suicidal. In fact, most of them are not, that’s just one of
the symptoms or possible manifestations of depression. There’s a lot of other
teens who are experiencing depression and they may even be in the early stages
of it so as you look for changes in behavior, things that are not typical for
your son or daughter, how can you help your daughter who has depression? I’ve
got three suggestions for you today, maybe we could call them rules. Can we
elevate them to that status? Here’s rule number one. Put your own mask on first. Now
this goes back to my experience in flying on airplanes and some of you have
done this as well. You know when you’re getting on a commercial airliner and
they go through the little safety routine, right? And you’re supposed to
follow along on your laminated card. I hope that you do that and they get to
this point where they say, if we lose cabin pressure then these oxygen masks
are going to fall from the ceiling and you fasten them on with a little rubber band
and then breathe normally, right? Yeah, your planes going down, you’re going to
breathe normally but anyway, at that point in the routine, they always say
this, if you’re traveling with young children or someone who needs assistance,
please put your own mask on first. Now why do they say that? Because if you’re
out cold in the aisle, you’re just in the way, right? You’re not fully functioning
so that you can assist another person. Why did I make this the first rule? If
you want to help your daughter for example, teenage daughter who seems to be
experiencing some depression or you’re noticing some of the signs and symptoms,
it’s enormously important for you as a parent to be in a
good place, it’s an enormous burden for kids and
especially for teenagers if they feel like they have to take care of their
adult parent emotionally or otherwise and a lot of times, they’re hesitant to even
share anything that’s going on because they’re afraid of how it might impact
you so get into a good place. I think as you find yourself in a place where you
are positive and happy and you know what, we got tons of videos on that stuff so
please go look at those and do whatever you need to to get yourself into a good
place, get some counseling, get some coaching, whatever you need to do to take
care of this one because then you can show up and really help your daughter or
your son with what it is they’re experiencing, this takes away the burden
so they don’t have to take care of you so you got it? That’s rule number one, you
put your own mask on first. Rule number two, listen listen listen. I said it three
times. Listen, you want to provide an open listening ear, there’s something
enormously therapeutic about being able to share what’s on your heart and mind
especially with someone that you don’t have to worry too much about emotionally
that they can handle it, they can take it, that’s just a little call back to why
rule number one is so important. So you put yourself in a position where you can
create for your daughter, let’s just focus on your daughter for purposes of
this video but understand that this can go for sons too. Your daughter’s
experiencing some depression, she’s got some things on her mind, you create for
her a safe loving stable open environment where she can talk about
anything. Now let me address that for. I’ve been practicing as a psychologist
now for about 23 years at the time of this video, I’ve listened to a lot of
stuff, you can’t shock which is enormously therapeutic to my clients who come in
with some burden on their mind that they want to share but they’re afraid
of the shock value, you know, that maybe if they share this people are going to look
at them differently or people are going to think about them differently or it’s
going to shock or alarm someone. We take all of that away and we can hear
anything so adding to rule number two of listen listen listen, including that, no
freak out, alright? One of the worst things that can happen is that somebody
will share something with you and you’re like, what?
Right? And you freak out, it’s like, no, I can’t believe I’m hearing this. Well
that’s not helping, okay. For them to share it is what we’re going to focus on.
It doesn’t matter what the content is, you prepare yourself to hear anything
and usually it’s not going to be as shocking and terrifying as that person
who wants to share it with you thinks it is so your daughter is thinking, oh my
gosh, mom’s going to freak out, mom’s going to freak out and she finally gets up the
guts and the courage to share something with you and you receive it peacefully.
In fact, you practiced this response. Okay, thank you for sharing that with me, we
can handle this. Do you see how reassuring that is? You don’t even have
to know how you’re going to handle it but what I want to create here is a
listening parent that’s able to receive anything that’s going to come up, okay?
Sometimes it helps beforehand to do the little what-if game, okay. So imagine that
your daughter is into whatever it is that you’re afraid she’s into, what if my
daughter tells me she’s on drugs, okay, we’ll handle that beforehand so that you
can practice saying okay. You know, no matter what it is, okay, we’ve
got this, we’ll do whatever it takes to handle this. See, you’re going to be
reassuring peaceful present. Well, what if my daughter is having sex with her
boyfriend? Okay, we got this. Same response to anything that they can share with you,
that’s powerful so rule number two listen listen listen and remember, you
got two ears and one mouth so we’re going to use them at least in that
proportion okay. Usually your kids just need to
offload some stuff first, they don’t need to hear any advice at this point. In fact,
I would have refrained from giving advice. You just open up that space for
them to talk. Okay, you with me? And that’s challenging enough okay so whatever you
need to do to create a context for that and sometimes you get out out of the
house, alright. You might notice that your daughter
needs to talk a little bit so you say, hey honey, let’s go take a drive. You know
and you get her in the car and you go up through the mountains or something where
you’ve got a little bit of time where you’re in a in a private space and she
can talk or hey, can I take you to lunch today?
You know and you go somewhere where you actually have a little booth where you
can have some kind of a private conversation in a public place, these are
just little tips and tricks to kind of help get them talking. Now if they don’t
want to talk yet, if she’s just like, I can’t. I can’t even talk about it, mom. I
can’t, I don’t feel like saying anything dad. Okay, that’s fine, accept that and
continue to create the open safe space where that can happen. As you work on
your listening, your focus is really important. I did another video on
something that I’m calling the influence quadrant. As soon as this video is over,
would you just connect with that? There’s a link right up here where you
can get right to that video because that will help you to understand that where
your focus is as you’re doing this listening in rule number two, makes a big
difference and that’s another tool that I think this is going to help. Now let’s
go on to rule number three. Here’s where I’m going with rule number three. As a
parent, you have some responsibilities. We never want to take depression or
suicidal thoughts or actions lightly, this is important so let’s do everything
that we can to assist our child. Rule number three is this, be willing to be
the parent. Now up until now, it’s kind of feeling like, well, we’re going to be their
friend, right? Because we want to make sure that we’re doing okay first so that
we’re in a good place that’s rule number one, we’re going to listen listen
listen, create that safe environment for the communication lines to be open
that’s rule number two. It feels really chummy, really friendly
at this point. You’re still the parent so I want you to be able to ask the hard
question. I had an interview on my podcast once with a mortician, an
undertaker, he actually preferred the term undertaker and he shared with me,
you know what? Talking about death won’t kill you. That’s pretty good advice and
talking about the things that you’re concerned about won’t cause those things
to come about and probably it’s stuff that your teenager is already thinking
about. So as you’re sitting with your daughter,
it’s okay for you to ask the hard questions. You can preface it by saying
something like, you know, sweetie, some kids in your position have gotten into
drugs or sex or are thinking about hurting themselves or have been cutting
themselves or doing things that are potentially harmful. I know that that
happens. Is that something that’s happening for you? You can ask the
question and be willing to ask the hard questions because that opens up a whole
new line of communication and it sends a message to your daughter too that
anything is fair game we can talk about any of this stuff and I’m still not
going to be freaked out. Remember the no freakout rule? You come to this as a calm
reassuring loving parent, you’re willing to ask those hard questions and then the
second part of that third rule which is to you know, be the parent. The second
part of that is to provide the necessary support and they may not be really eager
or willing to do it at the time. I have parents come to my office all the time
with their teenagers and I always ask the teenager right up front.
Did your parents drag you in here kicking and screaming? And that kind of
puts them at ease a little bit because I’m acknowledging, hey, this is not an
easy thing to do but your parents love you so much that they are willing to
provide resources that you need so that might
mean counseling or therapy or coaching or getting into some kind of a program
that provides peer support or group therapy, medication sometimes is helpful
but as a parent, you still get to call the shots on that and there will be
times when they don’t want to or they feel resistant and you’re going to have to
make a judgment call to say you know what, sweetie, I care about you so much
that I’ve set up this appointment and I’m inviting you to come with me
because I think this is a good resource to help you deal with the things that
are coming up for you so you got it? Three rules. Number one, you put your own
mask on first. Number two, listen listen listen and number three, you get to still
be the parent, ask those hard questions and provide the support that’s necessary.
We can help these kids and we really need to. Whether it’s your daughter or
your son or anybody else that you love, I hope you found some useful content here. Would you please comment below about what you’re learning?

One thought on “How To Help My Daughter With Depression”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *