Signs of Youth Depression

Teen sitting on railing in front of the river.

If you feel that your child is dealing with some emotional or behavioral issues that are a bit different than their peers, you need to determine whether your child is at the point where an intervention might need to be put into place. You don’t want to ever compare your child to another child, yet it is important to assess your child based on how they are acting and if they are putting themselves or others at risk. It is not easy to deal with if you have a troubled child, but you need to know what to look for, this way if they need help, you are prepared.

Every child is not the same, but there are a few common signs listed below that might help give a parent a guide of what to look for and when to be concerned.

Warning Signs and Risks

  • Extreme Moods – Children are moody, especially when their hormones start changing. However, if your child has extreme rage, very sad, and expresses hatred towards family members continuously, then this is a warning sign that something deeper is going on. Watch their mood swings and see what might trigger them to act the way they are. If these extreme moods are continuous without any real sensible trigger, it might be time to explore a mental health expert.
  • Self-Harm – If your child is burning, cutting, or in some way mutilating themselves physically, you need to get them help as soon as possible. This violent behavior can come prior to suicidal behavior. This is not a warning sign that should be questioned, seek help!
  • No Remorse for Their Actions – Children will always make mistakes. Some will be small and others will be big, but it comes with the territory of being a kid.  When they get caught though, most kids are remorseful about their actions and for defying rules.  Therefore, if your child displays no sign of guilt and does not care if they get in trouble for their actions, then something is not right.
  • Dishonest – Throughout your child’s life they will have moments where they might lie to a friend, teacher, or even you. This is normal, they may not want to get in trouble, or feel they have to prove something to a friend. What isn’t normal is consistent lying about where they go and who they are with. If that is the case, then they may be skating down a dangerous path. If they don’t want you to know who they are with or what they are doing, then this is concerning.
  • Stress at Home – If your family is going through financial problems or a divorce or separation, these are all factors that put a child at risk for acting out.
  • Obsessed with New Friend Group – As your child gets older they will start to meet new friends, this is great. However, if your child starts changing their behavior, how they look, or the values they were raised with to fit in with friends, this is an unhealthy sign.
  • Previous Victim of Abuse Bullying, Sexual, Physical – Children who are former victims of abuse have low self-esteem and self –worth, consequently, they are usually more likely to become troubled as they get older and into their adult lives.
  • Violent or Angry Child – If your child is angry or violent at a young age, it is not unusual for them to continue their aggression and anger as they grow up. Make sure you monitor them closely as they get older.

It is vital to not only look at each of the signs but whether there is a combination of them that your child meets. If you are seeing one or multi warning signs that are similar to your child’s behavior, you should seek out professional help for them. You do not want to wait with something like this, be proactive and get your child the help they will need.