As a parent you will often find yourself wearing many hats during the course of your child’s life, or even just during one year or one day. The needs of children and teens fluctuate on almost an hour to hour basis. Some parents may find it hard to keep up with the ever evolving demands of their children’s physical and emotional needs. However, it is important to remember that if your child’s needs are not met those needs can then evolve again into destructive behaviors or emotional issues that can take years to over come. Are your kids Feeling Sad?
Dealing with emotional issues in your children is by far one of the most difficult things that any parents face in their parenting experiences. When your child is feeling sad you want to make them feel better. Sometimes children are feeling sad for very simple reasons and there are very simple solutions that can help make them feel better. Perhaps they have lost a pet, and a new pet will cheer them up, or perhaps they have moved to a new town and joining a team sport or new extracurricular activity will help change their perspective. These are easily solved problems that most parents are very willing to help out with in order to get their child feeling happy again.
However there are times when some kids will tell you they are feeling sad for no reason. This can be very disturbing to parents, especially to parents who make a conscious, involved effort to help their children. When your child comes to you and says, “I feel sad for no reason,” you want to help them to feel better. How can you help them feel better, though, when you do not really know what the problem is.
You should consider that many young people will feign ignorance over their depression, and claim to feel depressed for no reason, when really there is almost always an underlying reason that the young person either does not want to admit, or has not processed yet themselves to the point that they realize that it is the reason they feel so depressed.
For parents who want to understand why their child is depressed for no reason, it is important to take time to evaluate the young person’s current life situation. Your child’s life may seem fairly simple to you and unstressful, but you need to take their situation into context of their development. Your child has not developed to the place you have emotionally, so their problems do seem big to them. The stressors that they experience on a daily basis are very real.
Ask yourself if you think your child has been placed under too much stress with school and extracurricular activities. Does your child hang around other kids who are very negative or judgmental? Has your child been under and especially demanding or critical teacher recently? Any of these issues could cause sudden outbursts of, “Why do I feel sad for no reason?” , “I feel so sad,” or “I am so sad.” If you already have a good line of communication established with your child, and they will open up to you and let you know, “I feel sad,” then you are actually already ahead of the game a little bit. When a child is willing to discuss their emotions it is far easier to reach out to them and offer them advice and assistance with their issue.
If you child comes to you with questions like, “Why am I always sad?” “Why do I feel so sad?” or, “Am I depressed or just sad?” you can use the opportunity to explore options with you child on how to best handle their feelings. In many cases kids just need to talk. However, if you feel like your child would benefit from therapy, there is no reason not to explore that route as well. If your child were sick you would take them to the doctor. Taking your child to a therapist when they are sad or depressed is the same thing. You are helping your child find the help they need for their problem. You should never ignore a child asking you, “Why do I feel sad?” Childhood depression and unexplainable sadness is a very serious issue that left unchecked can cause a lifetime of trouble for you and your child.
It is somewhat easier to deal with kids who are willing to talk about their issues, however, some children and teens refuse to open up initially about their sadness. If you are suspicious that your child may be depressed, there are certain signs you can look for. Has your child’s eating patterns changed? Has their sleeping habits changed? Has your child quit hanging out with friends in order to spend more time alone? Have grades changes recently? Any of these could be a sign that your child is experiencing emotional issues or feeling sad for no reason.
Attempting to open up a line of communication with your child by asking, “Are you depressed?” may feel awkward at first. If your child seems very resistant to answering your direct questions, you may want to check out their social media sites. In many cases you can learn quite a bit about someone from their social media information. Does your child post feeling sad quotes, or post questions to their friends such as, “Why do I feel sad or why am I sad all the time?” These are huge indicators that you child is depressed but they are reaching out to others besides their parents.
Checking your child’s search history can also be helpful. Often when kids are dealing with problems they will search for answers on the internet. Look for search terms such as, “how to stop feeling sad,” or, “what to do when you re depressed?.” They may also search for the definition of sad or a sadness definition. Although your child may find some helpful information on the internet to help deal with their problems, it is important that they have family involvement as well.
The most important thing to remember when dealing with sad kids is to help them feel not so alone. Everyone wants to know that they are not dealing with their life and their problems all alone. This goes for kids as well. Once you have your child talking about their feelings try to help them map out, “Things that will make you happy.” Set these things as goals and help your child create a plan of how to accomplish these. If your child is very sad, or sometimes happy and sad, you want to help them establish consistent emotional behaviors. Roller coastering up and down is not healthy for adults or children.
Over coming depression or consistent sadness does not happen overnight. Do not expect that after one conversation or after one therapy session your child will magically say, “I feel happy now.” If your child is dealing with deep seeded emotional issues his or her recovery could take some time. However, when they know that they have a strong support group around them cheering them on and wanting what is best for them, they have a much better chance of recovering quickly.