Kids & Depression
An ever-increasing number of kids are struggling with depression, really struggling. What is the reason? Why the increase? What is causing all of this among our youth? Although my book shown above is not about depression, it contains several discussions that can be held with kids to give them hope. As an Assistant Principal of a high school for many years, I worked with kids struggling to keep going. There are many situations, and indeed, no two are exactly alike. In general, I found that struggling kids want to talk with someone. They want someone to listen without judgment and explain how they see things.
I used to ask kids what they saw themselves doing in five years. Often the answer I would get was evasive or would show a tremendous lack of confidence in their future.
It is too easy to say that many of them didn’t have any goals or that they didn’t have an adult to sit down with them and map out their future in such a way that would show them that they could get to where they wanted to go. They lacked complete confidence in themselves and the world. Sometimes they can’t see how they can fit in and be successful. But why is that? Research has shown that spending too much time on the computer can damage mental health.
In multiple studies involving thousands of individuals, many have complained of feeling depressed. With kids they are always connected through their phones and are forever texting and checking in to various social media websites. One part of this depression puzzle involves limiting the computer time for kids to less than five hours a day, depending on age and circumstances. Reaching that number can cause depression. Overuse of computers also affects sleep patterns, according to recent research released.
Having “technology-neutral zones” in your home, car, and other areas of your life will encourage you to interact with other people rather than a machine. By interacting, you adjust to their thoughts, think of comments that add to the conversation, be there in person with them, look at them, and laugh with them. Interacting will not only protect your physical health but your mental health. If we take time to catch ourselves drawn to technology rather than interacting with others, we need to stop and take another look.
Kids may not be very good at monitoring this or say it isn’t a big deal. But it is a big deal because it is a form of escape into an altered reality.
By entering into discussions with our kids, such as those designed in my book: Making Sense of Life: A Guidebook for Teens and Parents, you will find enjoyment with your kids that you never knew what there. I have written a few blogs about asking good questions, which will also help.
Click here for the link to Part II of this series, Depression & Kids Depression & Kids – II – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)
Psychology Today has a good solid article on How Much Screen Time, here, How Much Screen Time Should Kids Be Allowed Each Day? | Psychology Today
Yours for Better Parenting,