It’s true, children are not adults. For the most part, they do not have to deal with any financial stress, job stress, or relationship stress. However, children do have their own battles to face every day, some that you may not know about.
School is hard. Other children are mean. A pandemic is exhausting.
It is normal for children to have moments of sadness or be in a bad mood. Consider it a red flag if this sadness persists for more than two weeks.
It’s okay if you do not know exactly what the signs of depression are in children. It is not okay, though, to ignore them. You’re doing the right thing by seeking help. Depression generally does not go away on its own.
Seeking depression treatment for your child is the best thing you can do for them if you do notice the signs. Here are five indicators that reveal your child may need some help with depression.
1. Sadness or Irritability
You may notice that your child has been in a “bad mood” for weeks. They don’t need to be crying constantly or completely sullen, though those reactions wouldn’t be unusual.
Keep an eye out for any type of persistent mood disruption. Depression can make a child cry very easily, have tantrums, or become short-tempered. If you notice this behavior going on for more than two weeks, consider that your child needs support to identify and resolve low moods.
2. They Are Their Own Critic
Children with depression tend to experience low self-esteem and feel down about themselves. You may notice them complaining about their lacking performance, mistakes, or missteps when things go wrong. For example, they could lose at a simple board game with friends and criticize themselves and value to others with a statement things like “I’m such a loser.” Depressed kids tend to let one moment or interaction define themselves.
Also, you may notice that your child gives up too easily on things that are difficult for them. They do not have faith in themselves to accomplish much, so they simply refuse to try. If you catch your child saying more self-critical things than good things about themselves. This is an indicator that depression may be the underlying cause.
3. Fun is No Longer a Factor
If your fun-loving child no longer wants to play and seek adventure, something is wrong. Loss of pleasure is a very common indicator of depression. Seeing this occur in a child can be quite dramatic.
Your child may want to just stay in their room and not want to come out. Hobbies and sports they used to love may no longer interest them. If your child does not find the motivation for fun, it may mean it’s time to address their solemn mood with a therapist.
4. Changes in Eating and Sleeping
Depression can drain anyone Your child may appear tired much of the time, even if they have plenty of sleep. Other times, your child may have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night.
Also, your child develops food issues. Depression can play out as picky eating or overeating. It’s important to encourage your child to eat healthy foods rather than sweets or junk food for comfort. You don’t want to create any food addictions or health problems down the road.5. Body Aches and Feeling Sick
While depression comes with many mental health issues, the physical health of your child can pay the price too. Your child may complain of a lot of headaches or stomaches. They may resist going to school even though they are not technically not sick.
Take the Next Step Now
If you notice these indicators of depression, it is wise to speak to an experienced professional about it right away. Ignoring these signs of trouble will likely exacerbate these symptoms over time. Your child needs help and ways to cope. Please consider support for you, your child, and your family on our child therapy page and contact us soon for support.