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Mental Health: Depression in Children

Communicating With Your Teen

If you are a parent of a teenager, you are aware of the challenges involved, especially when it comes to communicating. Here are some tips to make communicating with your teenager easier:

  • When disciplining your child, replace shame and punishment with positive reinforcement for good behavior. Shame and punishment can make an adolescent feel worthless and inadequate.
  • Allow your teenager to make mistakes. Overprotection or making decisions for teens can be perceived as a lack of faith in their abilities. This can make them feel less confident.
  • Give your teen breathing room. Don't expect them to do exactly as you say all of the time.
  • Do not force your child down a path you wanted to follow. Avoid trying to relive your youth through your child's activities and experiences.

If you suspect that your child or teenager is depressed, take the time to listen to his or her concerns. Even if you don't think the problem is of real concern, remember that it may feel very real to them. It is important to keep the lines of communication open, even if your child seems to want to withdraw. Try to avoid telling your child what to do. Instead, listen closely and you may discover more about the issues causing the problems.

If you feel overwhelmed or unable to reach your child, or if you continue to be concerned, seek help from a qualified health care professional.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 11, 2014

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