Preventing depression and anxiety in teenagers

Parents of teenagers may feel that they are being blamed for everything, both by their teenager and by others. This is especially true if your child is troubled with depression or anxiety.
Sometimes this feeling comes from the research community. This is not because of increased fault but  because the family setting and in particular the parents are a very effective place to target in order to produce change. So effective in fact that a literature review discover 402 recommendations for parents on preventing teenage depression and anxiety. An expert panel has reviewed these and considered 190 of them important or essential for preventing teenager anxiety and depression.

Many of these are things you have likely done throughout your child's life such as establishing and maintaining a good relationship with your teenager and establishing family rules and consequences. However many of the other strategies are things that you may not have considered. Such strategies include changes to the home environment to make sure conflict at home is minimiliased and the seeking out of supportive relationships for yourself.

Still others talk about the importance of parenting through the special challenges of teenagers. This include encouraging and supporting your teenagers independence and encouraging them to create supportive relationships with their peers. You should also encourage your teenager in good health habits. In particular, teenagers tend to neglect sleep and excercise while maintaining a poor diet, all known risk factors for depression.
When your teenager encounters problems you should not solve them for him or her but you should also not leave them to solve them for themselves. Providing support to allow your teenager to resolve problems is considered important in the prevention of anxiety and depression

Finally should your teenager start to show signs of depression or anxiety you should provide support and help for them to deal with it. However should you feel that professional help is required you should encourage them to seek it.

Marie B.H. Yap, Pamela D. Pilkington, Siobhan M. Ryan, Claire M. Kelly, Anthony F. Jorm Parenting strategies for reducing the risk of adolescent depression and anxiety disorders: A Delphi consensus study Journal of Affective Disorders, Available online 28 November 2013


Popular Posts