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Isolation in depressed teenager

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Isolation in depressed teenager


Isolation in depressed teenager

My 16 years old son has been very depressed lately, constantly asks not to be involved in any social activities including playing team sports (which he loved so much), even going to school is a struggle. His friends has been reaching out to him and giving him all the supports he needed but he still convinced that none cares about him. I'm worried that if I continue to succumb to his wishes of total isolation, he will go down hill very fast. Especially when all in his mind is that he is lonely and no one cares. Do any of you have strategies for getting your child back into their routines of socialising etc? Thank you.
Super contributor

Re: Isolation in depressed teenager

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Hey @Indo_Mum Welcome to ReachOut Parents.

It can be so hard to know what to do when your teenager seems to be withdrawing from everything. Do you give them some space in case what they need is a time-out or do you try and motivate them to stay involved? There's a couple of strategies you can use.

A great place to start is to try and open up a conversation with him to see if he can explain what's going on. Tell him what you've noticed, in regards to him withdrawing and that it's concerning to you. Ask him what's going on. 

There's a chance he may not know why exactly he's stopped feeling like doing, which is ok, we all have times when we feel bad but don't really know why. You could ask him then what he needs from you, and how he'd like you to support him. If he's not sure about that either, that's a good opportunity to suggest he try talking to someone.


You could have a look at this page here, which talks about depression and teenagers. You might find some of the descriptions fit what's happening with your son.


We're having a talk tonight on mindfulness and how you can use it in your parenting. Join us by clicking here. It's about to start, at 8 PM.


Hope that helps.

Super star contributor

Re: Isolation in depressed teenager

Hi @Indo_Mum, I can relate to your situation very well. Mine was refusing school and isolating in her room, not seeing friends or extended family for many many months. She dropped out of her weekly sports, dropped out of life completely for a while. It was extremely concerning and I had fears that she would be in her room the rest of her life. 


She is now schooled via distance education and doing well. She has a part time job and is back at tennis once a week. She still spends a fair bit of time in her room, but she has schoolwork to complete. She sees one old friend who's stood by her through it all. 


With mine I've just had to ride it out, with fingers crossed. She wants to go off to TAFE next year, so she is thinking about her future again.


While she was isolating in her room, I used to give a knock on the door and go in and see how she was, or just tell her I loved her. We feel like we should be doing more, but sometimes we can't. Maybe they need this time in isolation to work things out for themselves, and process things they are feeling?


@Ngaio-RO provides some great questions to ask. Do you feel like he is going further and further downhill already? 


Counselling would be great if he will attend. Another thing to suggest to him might be the ReachOut youth forum. He can be anonymous, talk about the struggles he's having, without having to share any of it with you if he doesn't want to. You could maybe write the web address on a piece of paper and leave it in his room. 


I don't have any tips for helping to get him re-engaged, but from my experience, my daughter has come out of it pretty well. It took 12 months to get back into school and back to her tennis, so it can take time. I was so worried about my daughter getting her job as she needs to be social and talk to people, but she has blown me away by smashing it!  


It's really worrying as we want the best for our kids, but I hope my story gives you a little hope that his isolation now doesn't necessarily mean his future is at risk. 

Prolific scribe

Re: Isolation in depressed teenager

Hi @Indo_Mum My son is 16 too. He has been isolating in his room for at least a year. He seems happy enough but doesnt play sports, doesnt like school and finds it a real struggle to go. I have learnt to accept that he likes his private space...he talks on his computer. I am trying not to worry as he does like coming out for a walk with me once a week...and has a couple of friends at school...never invites anyone over though. Anyway I just wanted to let you know that I feel for you. Does your son seem happy around you..maybe he just likes quietness right now in his life. Does he ever sit with you? Stay strong.Im hoping you will find some answers with the other parents