Is your kid just sitting there with a blank stare, telling you they do not care, seemingly robotic and emotionless? We have to wonder when our kids start acting this way if it is depression or plain teenage defiance.
When your teen stops caring it can be so frustrating, and will send you to the absolute wits end. You feel so frustrated that they are not communicating with you, they haven’t got much to say, and it feels like they are hiding things from you.
However, the truth is that if your teen simply does not care, it may be more than teenage angst, especially if it is an ongoing thing.
It’s Not Just Typical Teen Angst
You’ll be grasping at straws when you are so desperate to just reach through to your teenager, however nothing works. Their grades will start slipping, other issues may creep in, social issues, maybe even substance issues.
You will start to fret about it, devote time and effort into trying to find a way to help… And now you’re here.
Well, you are probably aware that teen years are a difficult time anyway and most of us do not come prepared into this time of life, however, it can spur on some extra difficulties. And, here is how…
Why Don’t They Care?
If your teen is screaming that they simply do not care when you warn them of a punishment or activity or anything then you may think it is just your teen trying to defy you or act indifferent towards a punishment.
However, if they are perpetually indifference and apathetic, as if nothing brings them joy then this is more concerning.
Sure, a teenager sulking is not exactly unusual, we were all sulky teens at one point, however, when it is more long-term it likely isn’t just a sulky, moody, hormonal teenager.
These things can often come with bullying, social problems, or other issues. Sometimes a sulky teen can even be a teen who is trying to punish a parent for something.
There are so many reasons, but what are the ones you should be looking out for?
Is Depression A Possibility?
One of the primary warning signs of depression is the loss of interest in things that once brought joy. If your teen has suddenly lost interest in their hobbies, passions, and interests then this is a warning sign of depression.
Here are some other warning signs of depression:
- Guilty and shame
- Disinterest/ loss of interest
- Difficulty making decisions
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slowed moving and thinking
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Change in diet and eating habits
- Thoughts about death
If you find that your teen is displaying 5 plus of these symptoms for more than a 2-week period then they may need a trip to the doctor to have them assessed by a mental health professional.
Warning Signs Of Mental Illness
Depression is not the only thing you should consider though, there are many mental illnesses that can influence a persons’ ability to care about things and experience joy.
A lack of emotion can be a concerning thing if there are other warning signs of mental health issues in the teen.
Emotional detachment is a common symptom of many mental illnesses, this can include C-PTSD/ PTSD, BPD, and some other disorders (See Also: Parenting A Teenager With Reactive Attachment Disorder).
Remember not to stigmatize around mental illness, it is much more common than we realize and oftentimes, it is totally treatable, and people can recover.
Here are some things you might want to keep your eyes peeled for in your teen if you suspect they may be suffering with a mental illness:
- Mood swings
- Decline in work/ school performance.
- Distorted thoughts
- Low self-esteem and self-image
- Sleep disturbance
- Lack of self-care and hygiene
- Little to no pleasure
- Self harm
- Avoiding social interaction
- Indifference when praised
- Appetite changes
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Outbursts of anger
If you notice any sudden or major changes then you should be paying very close attention. If you also notice that there are a cluster of these symptoms present in your child, then you will need to take them to a doctor who will assess them.
If they cannot find an issue then your teen will likely be referred to see a mental health professional.
Tips To Help You
The first thing that you should do if you find that your teen just does not care is to simply keep communication open, you need to make sure that you are ready to talk to them whenever they are ready to open up to you. Ask them if they are okay, if there is anything that you can do to help and so on.
Sometimes it may simply be that your child has just hit a rough patch in their life, and they may be feeling a bit down about it all. They may have issues at school, failing a class they like, perhaps they are having social issues.
If you keep the lines of communication open between your teen and you, it will be easier for you to resolve the problem and help them feel at ease.
Teen years are hard enough as it is, and there will be a lot of inconsistencies in your child’s life, you need to remain alert and attentive to your child so if something is awry, you will notice.
Mood disorders are getting more and more common in teenagers, so if you believe that your teen is suffering from depression, anxiety or another disorder, seek out your doctor.
Overall, if your teenager doesn’t care, it could simply be defiance, especially in a negative situation like an argument or being threatened with a punishment. However, if this apathy is all the time then you need to consider that something might be wrong.
Mental health issues are rising in teens and so it is absolutely essential you key in on any symptoms early on.