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How should I approach my 16 year old about his depression?

My son has been battling depression since his father and I divorced. Recently, he's been hiding his arms, wearing long sleeves in 100 degree heat. I think he may be cutting. How should I talk to him about it?

Answer Question

Asked by nyraerikson at 10:46 PM on Jul. 6, 2010 in Kids' Health

Level 6 (146 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • Ask him what makes him angry. Oftentimes, depression is anger turned inward and unexpressed. If you can get him to express his anger, he may be less depressed.

    Answer by NannyB. at 10:48 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • Tell him that you know he's been really down lately and that you want to help him. Let him know that you are there for him. He's not talking to you because he feels that he can't. I know, because i was a cutter. Let him know that his feelings are NOT unreasonable but that sometimes people need help to get past them.
    Then get him some therapy.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 10:48 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • That depends. How close are you? If you're very close you just gently sit him down and say "Sweetie, I know you've been having a hard time since your dad and I divorced and I'm worried about you. Do you want to talk about it?" If he does, wonderful. If not, inform him that you will be enrolling him in counciling services.

    If you're not close, skip the first step and just enroll him. Tell him that you love him and you're worried.

    Cutters are much more likely than the general public to attempt suicide. It's important that he deal with his emotions in a constructive way, and a councilor can help him learn those ways.

    Good luck, mamma, I hope you guys get it figured out!

    Answer by Ati_13 at 10:50 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • yes approach him and let him know you are there for him and see if you can get him some help try to talk to family and get advice as to how to approach him if you are unsure you dont want to scare him...Goodluck

    Answer by starestrada at 10:50 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • Just sit down an talk to him. In a quiet private place. Be kind and not judgmental. Let him know you are worried about him. Don't be accusatory. Tell him that you have noticed he's been blue lately. If you have been anxious or depressed let him know that you have also been struggling (It's not about you so don't go on about this, but it's normalizing for kids to hear that grown ups struggle too). Tell him it's ok to talk about it if not with you, than somebody else. Most of all, tell him how much you love him and how much you want him to be well. Tell him you are willing to go to the ends of the earth for him. Then ask him to open up to you about what is going on in his world. Obviously, it would be helpful for him to see a counselor, but talking to him first is going to be the first step.

    Answer by emilex at 10:51 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • Thank you all so much for the advice. This is my first time dealing with a depressed teen (my twins never had any problems), so I'm new to this area of parenting.

    Comment by nyraerikson (original poster) at 10:55 PM on Jul. 6, 2010

  • You sit him down and talk. And ask him if he needs to go talk to someone such as a therapist. Especially if he is cutting.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 6:06 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • yes without question.

    Answer by cayenaroja at 4:28 PM on Aug. 5, 2010

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