Hudson Valley Parent

HVP October 2018

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Page 16 of 39 n Hudson Valley Parent 17 Health Tips for Infants, Toddlers, ' Tweens & Teens 24/7 on our website 9 Local Oces 845.452.1700 A series answering parents' toughest questions when raising a teen Keep the conversation going. See the complete article and get tips to help raise your teens at Dr. Paul Schwartz Professor of psychology and education Jill Valentino Mother of two from Pine Bush If you're unsure if your teen is depressed or just being a teen, consider how long the symptoms have been going on and how severe they are. Hormones and stress can explain the occasional bout of angst - but not continuous and unrelenting unhappiness, lethargy or irritability. Be gentle but persistent. Don't give up if they shut you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens. Be respectful of your child's comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen. Trust your gut. If your teen claims nothing is wrong but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. If your teen won't open up to you, consider turning to another trusted adult. The important thing is to get them talking to someone. I'm quite sure that my concern for the mental health of both my daughters will consistently hover around level "through-the-roof" for most of my waking hours. Adolescents are irritable and moody. This can be a shock to a first-time mom of a pre-teen (me), especially when the child she once knew was consistently cheerful, easygoing and pleasant. Talk to your children every day. Ask them questions about themselves and show interest in who they are becoming. You are the parent. Go with your gut. If in the end your child is not depressed, take solace in that fact and be relieved. If you end up being right and your child is depressed, by taking charge, being proactive, and intervening via mental health professional sooner than later - you might end up saving their lives. How do I talk to my kids if they appear depressed?

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