Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

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Star contributor

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

I'm so sorry your going through this. It's like reading my own story. I know that feeling of helplessness. My husband sleeps in the couch and my daughter must keep her door open for safety. Look up online "coping skills" for her. See if she is willing to try any or at least come to u before she self harms. I have been told and I believe it that the self harm is a coping skill for the pain, not an actual attempt. Sending hugs, your not alone, many of us are going through this too. I take it one day at a time.
Prolific scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hi @kokolika,

 

It is awful, I think it is worse for parents and siblings, at least that was my experience. My son tried it twice, luckily he didn't try very hard (his natural aversion to pain stopped him). I found he was quite matter-of-fact about it.

In our case I didn't see it as a suicide attempt, he wasn't even particularly depressed when he did it. It was a response to a very stressful situation, and I think it was a way of releasing it for him.

 

Perhaps you have been told about alternatives (rubber band flicking, ice). I think you could probably have an honest talk to your girl and say "It is distressing for your sisters, can you try an alternative?" It sounds like she is concerned about scaring her sisters, she might be willing to try something. Obviously telling her to just stop isn't going to work. As for protecting the house, I put away all the potential methods of self harm I could find.  I locked the front and back doors, and insisted that the bedroom door stayed open when he was asleep. I tried not to go overboard - I didn't want to add to his stress.

 

I found with my son he was open to discussions about keeping him safe. 

 

With my son, I offered activities: swimming, basketball with me (he likes to beat me), walking in the park. Often I would match it with a "reward" - go for a swim and I'll turn on the wifi...etc. At the same time, no stress. If he really wanted to just lie in bed, I let him. I did try to maintain a sleep schedule, so I'd limit his time asleep during the day (20 mins I remember, then I'd wake him up).

 

All kids are different and hopefully you can get some advice from a psychologist soon. I did find I had to work out the details for myself a lot - the psych can't tell you everything.

Cheers

Active scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Thank you for sharing. It helps to hear other people struggling with this too.
Active scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

I have heard about some alternatives like the rubber band.  The therapist has been having her try coloring in a very detailed coloring book.  She enjoys art so she is supposed to try doing that when she feels the urge to self harm.  I think that's a very good point about using her concern for her sisters to motivate her to try an alternative.  Something that wouldn't be so distressing for them.  She really is genuinely worried about them so I think that could work.  Thank you for the suggestion!  Also a great idea to pair an activity with a reward.  I am going to give that a try as well.  We are meeting with a psychiatrist later this week so hoping to get some info then too.  Thanks!

Prolific scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Good luck @kokolika, I found this stage to be very distressing as a parent, don't forget to take your own care seriously Smiley Happy It took all of my will to stop from totally freaking out in front of my son! 

 

(In our case it was "just another stage"...you can get through it).

Community Manager

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hi @kokolika,

I can hear that this has been a really difficult time for your family, and I am glad to see all the community support you have received here by other members like @Schooner and @sunflowermom who have gone through similar experiences with their children. These posts really read that there is hope and alternatives to self harm for young people who are experiencing distress, and I hope that you are able to find what works for your daughter. 

 

I just want to send a quick reminder about our community guidelines when talking about self harm. This is such an important conversation to have, but I have just removed anything from the posts about that refers to the method of self harm or any explicit details to keep the discussion safe for everyone. 

 

I really like the suggestions that have been made here about some alternatives to self harm and ways to encourage activities during the day. We would love to hear from you @kokolika about how you go with these. And, of course, you are also welcome to keep posting here for more ideas from the community- there are a lot of parents that can relate to what you are going through right now and we are here for you every step of the way Heart 

Active scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

When a child goes into depression, it can be overwhelming for parents. One thing that you need to understand that depression is common in teens nowadays and it can be treated with proper care.  My advice to you is to monitor her dose of antidepressants, never skip a psychiatrist's appointment and always be there for her.  The latter is really important as she needs to know that you understand her and care for her. This is the time that she needs maximum support from her loved ones. No matter how tough it gets for you to deal with her mood swings, always put yourself in her shoes and show her empathy.  

Mod

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Awesome advice @brightstar89! I also agree that it is really important to offer that empathy and support in such a difficult time. Easier said than done but it is also important to seek extra support for yourself when needed. I think de-stressing and still doing things you enjoy can really lessen the load and allow you to have at least one moment of relaxation.
Star contributor

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hello

I totally agree with you @brightstar89 you must be vigilant about appointments and medications and keep a close eye on your teen.  Depression is treatable but its a process....sometimes a frustrating long process.

 

I really like what you said @Taylor-RO the self care portion as a parent is so important- this balance is key.  Or honestly you are no help to your teen in the long run.