Depression – 5 Ways You Can Help Your Teenage Daughter

There are many things we want to protect our daughters from starting with the smallest boo boo to the biggest bully in the school yard. But one of the scariest, most paralyzing fear is a situation that creeps in, like a thief in the night to steal the joyous, blossoming, beautiful, smiling daughter you have come to love without boundaries. What happens when that elusive ‘thing’ comes along and makes you feel as though you have been flung out to sea without a raft; you are…for maybe the first time in raising your daughter, lost.

It’s not a boo boo you can put a band-aid on and kiss away. Seemingly it lingers, hovering and over shadowing the beautiful smile you have come to love.

I can tell you that I went through a range of emotions from confusion to sadness to utter fear. I was confused; I mean why wouldn’t I be. I have given my daughter everything and been this great mom (at least in my mind). Utter fear because I, for the first time, didn’t know how to deal with my daughter. My vibrant, laughing daughter had become withdrawn, sullen and hard to communicate with.

I didn’t stay down. I am a female after all, a mom and a teacher. I researched and reached out to family and friends. One friend in particular helped me immensely. I listened, learned and put into practice.

So, here are 5 ways you can help  your teenage daughter who may show signs of depression.

Before I begin here’s some interesting facts:

  • While boys do experience depression by “mid-adolescence girls are twice as more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder such as depression or anxiety” (childmind.org)
  • Girls mature faster, we’ve all heard that before, but it turns out that because of this known fact girls develop a greater sensitivity to emotional stimuli.

Take Notice

Pay attention to the subtle signs. Is she becoming withdrawn, sleeping more, not sleeping? Is she more irritable than usual (teenage years), has lost interest in the activities she used to enjoy or has her grades dropped? While these individually could mean other things it still bears mentioning. For my daughter she wasn’t sleeping which lead to irritability.

Be Supportive

Be there. It’s very important to strengthen your relationship with your daughter during these years. The teenage years are tumultuous- with home expectations, the school jungle mentality (survival of the fittest) and the hormonal changes. This time can be rough and there is a lot on her plate. Try to build empathy for her position and circumstance. Put yourself in her shoes. Be that person she goes to when she is feeling low and wants someone to communicate with.

Validate

Many times due to either the busyness of our lifestyles or we have forgotten our teenage years  we may not give credit to the schizophrenic nature of our feelings when we are teenagers. One minute life is super awesome, the next life is an abysmal affair, and then there is the range. We need to validate their feelings. My daughter goes from “Mom I had such a good day at school one day!” to “I hate my school!” I sometimes can’t keep up. She is in middle school and honestly I am appalled by the trials they go through. It’s like court. She must prove her worth! I know… if she only knew.  For now I listen, validate, and try to help her navigate through the jungle.

Check In

In the car, at the grocery, or in the kitchen, check in with your daughter. Doesn’t have to be a long conversation but asking questions and genuinely being curious about what’s going on with them can tell you a lot about their emotional well-being. Show love and concern when checking in, no judgement – just listen. Judging pushes them away. Try your best not to fix their problems (very difficult) but offer suggestions/alternatives. Let them mull those over. Give them some space.

Get Help

Depression is a serious mood disorder and rates are rising in teen girls. Ensuring your girl with depression gets help when you feel as though you have tried all the above and more. Communicate with your daughter let her know you have noticed changes in them and you want to help. Inform them of the different kinds of help that’s out there such as, therapy. For your own knowledge bank there is interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy; all shown to help teens with depression.

Lastly,

Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Caring for a daughter who may be experiencing depression can be emotionally and mentally exhausting.

For more info https://childmind.org/article/mood-disorders-and-teenage-girls/

Be well

Empowering the Female Spirit

Aminah

5 ways to improve communication with girls

Unconditional Love

Just talk to me

I don’t know about you but it was very difficult to talk to my mother when I was a teenager. I mean she was there…I suppose but I felt as though I couldn’t just be with my mom the way I could be with my friends. Even my guy friends.

I had a strict upbringing and there really wasn’t any room for “conversations” with my mother because she was always doing something or going somewhere. I could count the number of times I had a heart to heart with my mom. Those days came much later.

So mom’s how do you communicate with your daughters? Do you make a point to talk with them? On daily basis? Don’t get me wrong. It’s a frickin job. As a mom I try to make it a point to at least give my daughters 5 -10 minutes initially. Then I’m off doing some other household task. We do alot! I mean who has the time? Well… make the time because if we don’t, we could be missing out on way more than we would like.

Here’s 5 ways to turn up volume on chatter that’s happening in your daughter’s life.

Face to Face

Girls really open up when you take the time to stop moving and give them face to face communication. Stop trying to multitask like ah boss and pay attention. Many times we want to be great moms and think that this type of a check-in will suffice. It won’t. Our daughters need our undivided attention. Face to face, in this very techno time where our daughters communicate by texting, cellphones and other forms of social media, face to face gains the title of special time. Set aside time for you and your daughter. When we give our daughters face to face communication they will feel how important they are and their conversation is to us through our body language and facial expressions. The dialogue will be relaxed and our girls will open up just a little more each time you sit down for a face to face.

Expect the unexpected

So just when you think you know your daughter… a new bomb gets dropped. I have three daughters and raising my first daughter was an eye-opening, learn by the set of your pants, and sometimes hurtful, experience. But I wouldn’t trade a thing. She taught me having little girls is not sugar and spice and yeah it wasn’t so nice a couple hundred times. So she was definitely my “tester” baby because boy I was ready for the next and the next well mostly. Those stalk deliveries carried a little something extra. I’m so damn thankful.

So expect the “oh yeah mom my friend’s boyfriend felt her up and what do you think I should tell her?” (my friend?) or They want to know about trying some Patroen. I kept it light. I have some real doozies. Expect the unexpected. Let go of the expectations remain open. Breathe cause it’s coming.

Loving means acceptance
Loving means acceptance


Listen with empathy

Empathy is defined as being aware of the others feelings and thoughts. To place yourself in another’s shoes. In other words stop talking and over talking your daughter. Listen with your heart and not your mind. I know that sounds like it came out of some new age CD but as moms we don’t know everything. And if you want to know some things listen. When we listen we hear with more than our ears. We feel their frustration, confusion, joy and pain. We show we have genuine respect for our daughters when we listen. We acknowledge and validate her existence when we listen. She really does have something to say. She who is a gift given in our care and soon will leave us. When we listen with empathy we teach empathy. When we listen love becomes a verb not a noun.

Peaceful interactions
Peaceful interactions

Remain calm and smile

We will always have those days where we wish are children to another dimension. Not forever (wink) but at least until we can take a deep breath. Our days get so hectic as moms and we, let’s face it, forget to enjoy the moment.  We…are…busy, I don’t have to tell you that; but when it comes to keeping those lines of communication open between you and your daughter; stop, remain calm, listen and smile. What she has to say is important. Why? because she has chosen to share. A rare sighting indeed when you have a teenage girl. I heard once in a movie   “ It is always surprising how small a part of life is taken up by meaningful moments. Most often they are over before they start, although they cast a light on the future and make the person who originated them unforgettable. “ This always reminds me to grab the meaningful moments when you can. Your daughter will not forget.

Tell her who you are

Girls love to hear stories about you. When you were a preteen, teenager and young adult. We weren’t always adults. I tell my girls “ I wasn’t always this put together (wink)” But I am willing to bet we could share some hair raising schemes we were involved in and didn’t blink. I think back sometimes and I am amazed I made it into adulthood and had kids! Girls want to know about old love stories, high school drama, your challenges and wins. It is empowering for them to learn how you handled your drama, escaped the clutches of detention and dealt with that one girl who just rubbed you the wrong way. We should never strive to be perfect; we should strive to be human with all our bumps and bruises.