September 22, 2006, Newsletter Issue #31: Signs of a teenager distancing from their parents

Tip of the Week

For most parents, the typical behavior and mood swings of a teenager can be confusing. Between their hormones racing, their social life changing, and trying to find themselves; when a teenager distances themselves from a parent, is this considered a sign of depression?

The answer is yes. When a teenage child begins to withdraw from their parents mentally, emotionally, and physically, this can be one of the many signs of teenage depression. A sudden decision to not want to participate in activities they once loved can occur from many factors.

Hormonal and physical changes of the body

Stress

Genetics

Distinguishing between typical teenage moodiness usually caused by hormonal changes and depression is the first step. An example of moodiness caused by a hormonal change would be for young girls around their period. Obviously if the moods and distance seems to occur in a cycle, this would not be a sign of depression. If the moods and distancing doesn't go away and stays around for a significant amount of weeks, then consider bringing the teenager to a therapist. Make an effort to record the amount of time you have observed your teenager's behavior change as the therapists will ask you this question.

If you suspect your teenager is depressed, parents should respond in a gentle, loving, supportive manner. Let your teenager know that you are available whenever they need you and do not ask a lot of questions. Teenagers do not like to be questioned constantly; just make sure to let them realize you will not criticize them and are they for support.

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