Years ago, when your son had temper tantrums, you would just soothe or discipline him. However, as your son grows into a teenage boy, the way you handle him should also be adjusted. Maybe he is no longer throwing tantrums, but he still experiences emotional roller coasters. Unfortunately, he may not tell you every bit of the rides, thus there is a chance you missed some possible signs that your son is depressed.
Yes, you read it right. Teen depression is quite common to happen, and it influences how they perceive themselves and the world around them. Once you finish reading this piece of ours, you will understand your son deeper. As parents, we commonly are taught to teach our boys to ignore their feelings and to always keep their emotions in check. While this practice is good at some point, it, however, hinders them to be emotionally expressive. Our list of signs that your son is depressed would be a great help for you as parents to deal with your teenage boy.
1. Self-Isolation and Social Withdrawal
In your family, your son is known to be sociable. He has many friends with a various range of fun activities. But one day, you notice that your teenage boy slowly stops participating in any social events and activities he once was excited about. At first, you may wonder if he’s busy doing his own projects in his room. But if you suspect something is missing, a friendly question to him might help you to find further clues. Try involving him in new social circles, such as a tennis or soccer club to enrich his perspectives.
2. Demotivated Son
Teenagers are generally creative, active, and curious about the things they enjoy doing. What if they are forced to do something they don’t like? Most of the time they will feel demotivated as they find no purpose in doing so. When your teenage boy doesn’t feel excited anymore about anything in life, most likely he is demotivated. When this is the case, encourage him to do different activities on the weekends in the hope he feels recharged to face the weekdays.
3. Rapid Mood Swings
We are confident that mood swings are part of teenagers’ hormonal changes and development growth. But this can appear as one of the obvious signs that your son is depressed when this happens rapidly. Chances are moods that shift quickly are triggered by stress. While further consultation with a therapist might be necessary, you can start holding regular family games or light exercises. Physical activities are known to reduce stress and depression. A point plus, these exercises promote cooperation and confidence for your son.
4. Extreme Sadness and Loneliness
Not everyday sadness we are talking about. This is a sign of mental health conditions or teen depression. Your son is considered depressed when he consistently feels down in the dump. However, we must admit that this sign is more apparent in teenage girls since they are more trained to be expressive. Pay more attention to your son’s way of thinking. If he keeps talking about sadness and hopelessness, consult an expert immediately.
5. Sleepless Boy
If you’re looking for one of the obvious signs that your son is depressed, watch his sleep pattern. A depressed teen experiences irregular—and sometimes unusual—sleep schedules, hence disrupted mood. Stop forcing him to get her out of his bed every morning, instead, focus on the root causes. Keep him busy during the day and ask him to have a hot shower for muscle relaxation before sleeping. Once you can maintain this strategy regularly, you can initiate a deep conversation about things that bother him. The key is to keep him relaxed first.
6. Extreme Changes in Eating Habits and Weight
As long as your son is not on a planned healthy diet, you must be aware of sudden changes in his eating habits and weight. At this stage, we assume that parents are the ones who know best about their son’s lifestyle and eating behaviors. Thus, when his performance in this department shows more inclined toward an unhealthy lifestyle, evaluate carefully.
Furthermore, extreme changes in diet can lead to either weight gain or weight loss. However, the causes of gaining or losing weight are not always linked to food intake, because sometimes hormonal issues or depression can come into play. Decrease the amount of processed food and pay attention to proportional nutrients. You can always consult a nutritionist to initiate a healthier family lifestyle. Bear in mind that diet and mental health are closely related.
7. Declining Academic Grades
One of the signs that your son is depressed is declining academic grades. This can be more evident if your teenage boy used to be an achiever. You may not be worried if this occurs temporarily, such as caused by his busy schedule or fitting into a new environment.
However, if his academic performance persistently goes downhill, this can be a tell-tale sign that something is bothering him. First, do not be so demanding parents to your boy. Instead, communicate this issue with his teachers and a mental health professional to get a further understanding of your teenage boy’s condition.
8. Feel Worthless and Inadequate
Lack of confidence oftentimes is one of the signs that your son is depressed. To further investigate and explore the causes, you can evaluate your family’s condition first. Look at the son-parent interaction at home. Do you promote supportive and loving relationships with family members? Confidence is belief in your values and abilities. In yourself. Your teenage boy’s self-esteem level will increase if he knows he has a supportive family that accepts him no matter what. Self-esteem plays a crucial role in teenagers exploring themselves and learning to build their boundaries. When your son is depressed, he tends to think critically about himself.
9. Trouble Concentrating
The symptoms of depression are poor concentration and memory loss, among others. Thus, when you notice that your son is having a hard time focusing, you can rest assured that something is preoccupying his thought. Hold yourself together and ask him calmly. Do not judge or belittle him, just listen to him thoroughly about things that bother him and ask him what might help him. Including your son in the decision-making processes to treat his issue is important as it can train his mind to get focused.
10. Drinking and Drugs
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs is one of the most obvious signs that your son is depressed. Teenagers are commonly curious and impulsive, so experimentation with alcohol and drugs is something they consider normal—until they fail to set the limit. Instead of interfering and countering him directly, you can opt for smoother strategies.
First, get to know his friends and initiate an open discussion with their friends regarding this. Second, approach your son friendlily. As parents, be good role models for him. Whenever an issue appears, demonstrate to him that you two can responsibly work for a peaceful solution and a cool head. Show him that alcohol and drugs are not means to escape.
11. Hopeless Teen
Imagine how hard it is to be a teen. Even though we were once teenagers but having responsibilities with very few authorities is challenging. Not to mention the lack of experience that makes them feel hopeless and tricky to control their lives. Adults like us tend to have a more realistic perspective towards lives, thus we are wiser than teenagers. And when we are wiser, we recover way easier from hurtful experiences.
We understand that you are not 24/7 with your son. There are times and events when he feels like a failure and trapped in an unpleasant situation that he doesn’t have control over, hence the feeling of hopelessness. However, instead of interrupting him with countless questions about what’s going on, try to involve him in an empowering conversation. For instance, tell him about your office problems and how you set the strategies to work on the issues. If you do this constantly, it will feel like you hand your son an imaginary live map.
12. A Jealous Boy
In this journey called life, we are aware that there are people who are more than us. People who are smarter, stronger, wealthier, and healthier than us. Ideally speaking, their existence should not bother us. However, when teenagers struggle with depression, they can get unusually jealous of their friends. While at some point it is understandable as they are in the phase of exploring their identity, jealousy can make your teens not feel good about themselves.
Jealousy sometimes is not apparent in teenage boys since they are not trained to be as expressive as their female counterparts. You can test the water by praising others without comparing them with your son and see your son’s responses. If he always denies your positive judgment towards others, especially in the department where he feels a lack of, that’s a sign of jealousy. Be your son’s best friend who offers ultimate comfort and support in whatever he does sincerely.
13. Suicidal Thoughts
Dig deep into the core of your daughter’s thoughts is not easy. But once you hear him express his suicidal thought, never dismiss even a second of it. Never underestimate and drop the ball when he talks about ending his life because that is one of the clear signs that your son is depressed. Remain calm and invite him to have a heart-to-heart talk about his issues. However, if he keeps refusing to do so, you can seek professional mental health support.
Another subtle way to overcome this is to involve him in a community where he is fully accepted. You can start by finding out his favorite pastime and send him to a summer camp or a hobby club. The hope is to find him a supportive environment that shares the same interest with him.
14. Hold Grudges and Seek Revenge
When someone is depressed, other negative emotions will be handled inefficiently and worsen their mental health condition. Beware when your son feels the urge to seek revenge, holds grudges, and refuses to move on when someone hurts him. This can be one of the tell-tale signs that your son is depressed.
At this age, your son is ideally busy with fulfilling activities, exploring himself, learning new skills, and making friends. Thus, holding grudges and seeking revenge is a waste of his time. You can always teach him to forgive by telling him about your past experiences of letting off of something to allow better things to happen. Make sure he knows that at some point in his life, people may wrong him. Choosing forgiveness over grudges is the best decision.
Honestly, teenagers are usually ungrateful and demanding, partly because they haven’t put so much effort into everything they want. Everything is provided for them to enjoy. What is wrong is when you, as parents, tolerate these traits. Ungratefulness can worsen your son’s mental health condition because this behavior is one of the signs that your son is depressed.
There is so much to be grateful for. But your son seems never content and is unappreciative. You can train him by delaying gratification. Avoid granting whatever he wants the moment he asks for one. Assist him to set the goals he wants to achieve and reward him once he manages to attain them.
16. Is He Indecisive?
Do not underestimate indecisiveness as one of the signs that your son is depressed. On daily basis alone, he should decide his schedule, which routes to school to take, and any other decisions. However, as your son grows, there will be more complex tasks to be done and decided. Indecisiveness is rooted in many causes, with depression being one of them. From now on, you must involve your son in some simple family decision-making processes, such as deciding where to go for dinner or a family vacation. Do not forget to appreciate any of his ideas and efforts.
17. Physical Pain
The most apparent sign that your son is depressed is physical pain. You might be wondering, how can depression manifest in tangible pain. But you read it right. Oftentimes physical symptoms are the way your brain communicates with you that there is something wrong beneath the system. The pain caused by depression is mostly typical but quite unexplained. For instance, sudden headache attacks, fatigue, muscle pain, and stomachache. Make an appointment with a medical psychotherapist to consult.
18. Aggressiveness and Destructive Behaviour
This point is easier to detect when it comes to diagnosing teenage girls’ depression. But since boys are physically more aggressive than girls, it’s harder to detect this trait as a symptom of teen depression. However, you must know your son’s boundaries. If your son channels his endless energy and physical strength by doing sports, games, or any other positive activities, you don’t have to worry.
Parents should be alerted when their son’s aggressiveness is inclined to destructive behavior, such as constantly getting into fights at school. These traits, when persistent, can be perceived as signs that your son is depressed. He has no idea how to healthily channel his emotions, or he has a sudden urge to prove his strength. Try to divert his excess energy into sports or games.
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At what age do boys get depressed?
Children as young as 10 can be depressed, especially those with a history of stressful events, abusive environments, and family violence. But the tendency of depression is higher in older children between the ages of 12 until 17, because children will be more prone to depression when they are approaching and during puberty.
Which symptoms are commonly seen in a child with depression?
The symptoms of teens or children with depression are commonly the feeling of hopelessness, withdrawals, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns. Other characteristics also usually come into play. For instance, worsening academic performances, suicidal thoughts, and unappreciative behavior. Not all children show the same symptoms. For a complete explanation, read our list of signs that your son is depressed.
Why does my son feel sad?
Because he deals with things he doesn’t enjoy. For example, he is clueless about how he manages social or family expectations, he can’t fit into his circle of friends, or he faces tough family or school circumstances. As parents, we must learn to help our children handle their feelings with gratitude and patience.
What is the leading cause of childhood depression?
Poor stress management, illness, family problems, and any other internal factors can be perceived as the leading causes of teen or childhood depression. Moreover, it always comes down to the treatment of the closest environment, the family, and its mental health records. However, any combination of internal and external factors should also be considered in determining the main cause of childhood depression.