Family counseling for a more connected family.

How to Lovingly Parent a Depressed Child

Being a parent is the hardest job on the planet. But being a parent of a child with a mental illness can feel unbearable at times.

All parents want to do what’s right for their kids, but when your child is sick, either physically or mentally, the desire to “get it right” becomes even more intense.

If you are the parent of a child with depression, know there’s isn’t one “right way” to parent them. Having said that, here are some ways you can support and show you love your child on their way back toward the light.

Accept Your New Reality

For many parents, accepting that your child has a mental illness is extremely difficult. It is natural to want to deny the truth and pretend that everything is the way it was before the diagnosis. But invalidating reality will only make your child feel shame. Accepting the truth will help your family take the necessary steps to getting the right help.

Communicate OpenlySchool-aged Caucasian boy in blue jeans, sitting on a tan couch, with three pillows covering his torso, peeking out from the pillows, hands slightly visible looks scared and in need of Family Therapy Services for depression.

Your child needs you now more than ever. They need to feel that they can talk to you when their world feels dark. Sit your child down and tell them they can come to you at any time for any reason. Let them know you could never be angry at them for how they feel. When they are ready to talk, listen closely and with an open mind and heart.

Help Their Body

It’s a fact that an unhealthy body affects the mind, especially with a mental illness in play. Help your child’s recovery by encouraging healthy eating habits. Limit sugar, bad fats, and caffeine intake. Make sure they get plenty of exercise. Invite them to go for a hike or bike ride with you. And finally, help them get enough sleep each night by setting firm bed times.

Talk to Them About Suicide

It’s a conversation no parent ever imagines they’ll have to have. But for the parent of a depressed child, the risk of suicide is a sad reality. Start the conversation with your child. Ask if they’ve ever thought about suicide. Asking these questions in an objective way allows your child to speak candidly with you and share their true thoughts and feelings with you.

And understand that there is no danger of a person planting a thought of suicide in someone else’s mind if it’s not already there.

Multiple paned window with birdhouse looking out into green yard with wall and bare trees at sunset during In-Home Family Therapy.Get Help

Though you can be a big support in your child’s life, you’ll need the help and guidance of a trained mental health therapist. Talk to your pediatrician for a referral. You can also get a referral from local support groups and friends and family.

If you or a loved one has a child suffering with depression, you are not alone. Please contact me to discuss treatment options.

Contact Abby:

Helping families feel connected is at the core of my Family Therapy practice. Should you feel like your family might benefit from family counseling to increase your family connections and decrease family conflicts with a challenging and/or gifted child in the home, you have come to the right place! I also offer individual therapy to parents of challenging and/or gifted children, online, or in my office in Arcadia. Contact me via email, or give me a call at (626) 755-4059 for a FREE 20-minute, Initial Phone Consultation.Smiling female therapist in a blue top sitting at a wooden dining table promoting her options for Family Therapy in Client's Home For family therapy, I meet alone with parents in my Arcadia office for the first session. I want there to be a good fit between us, before you introduce me to your children. In-Home Family Therapy (Home-Based Family Counseling) is an option to families living in Pasadena, Glendale and Arcadia, California, as well as the surrounding areas of the San Gabriel Valley. I have completed training from SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and am a certified SENG Parent Support Group Facilitator. You will find my professional listing with SENG here. Please feel free to find out more about me on my Family Trauma Therapy page. You can also explore my CredentialsServices, and Rates.  LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy is a core value of my practice. My style shines through on my blog pagewhere I write about various topics affecting families with challenging children.