I sincerely encourage adults who are in direct contact with children every day to read this article.
Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, a teacher or a medical professional this article might help you to identify children and adolescents suffering from depression.
There are significant differences between the way a young child or a teenager express their depression compared to adults.
A teenager, for example, might become hurtful, irritated and aggressive all of the sudden. Most of the time, this type of behavior is chalked up to typical puberty hormones. Not quite so. Adolescence may be and it is a time of drastic changes in a young person but not all bizarre or significantly inappropriate behavior can be attributed to the influx of new sexual hormones.
The increasing violence in our society, most noticeable in mass murders sprees, bullying, drugs, and the desintegration of families are some of the most prominent factors to impact significantly negatively our children.
I grew up in an era where children were just children, they would play outside all day long with their neighbors. They would be monitored by their neighborhood’s friends. Activities were all collectively shared by friends. Bicycle rides, hopscotch, hide and seek, fishing, playing marbles, were all games and Activities that kept us children engaged in healthy interactions with our peers.
The struggles of the adults were for the most part kept hidden from the younger generations.
There was more time to interact with our mothers and other family members. We had a support network that is not present anymore.
I firmly believe that all of those drastic changes in our society have contributed to the significantly rise in depression onset in our newer generations.
It is imperative therefore, that we all become familiar with the signs and symptoms of chronic depression in the most vulnerable members of society – our children.
I must emphasize that there are three distinctive scenarios that contribute to children and adolescents fall prey to the claws of depression. These are, victims of abuse in any of its forms by relatives or non – relatives, victims of paternal abuse, and children who have witnessed and lived through traumatic divorces. In general, all divorces wreak havoc in children’s lives.
Another subset of children that do not fare very well in their development are those who live in a household where one of the parents is chronically ill. This might be a factor overlooked by most adults interacting with children but the fear of the uncertainty, the suffering and tears from the sick parent, the disruption in the family life caused by a chronic illness is in most cases too much to bear for a child making him prone to fall into the abyss of depression.
The old saying It takes a village to raise a child is as valid today as centuries ago.
Let us all unite our efforts for the benefit of the most precious gift in life; our sons and daughters, our nephews and nieces, our grandchildren, our young patients, our pupils.