Accept your child's feeling on his or her own terms.
Sometimes parents are afraid to talk about their feelings or ask their child how she or he is feeling. However, if you don't talk about depression, your child may feel even more alone. Here are some points to discuss.
Tell them you care
Say you are concerned
Understand their feelings
Keep your questions open-ended, rather than questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." You can say things like:
Most children and teens with depression feel alone and lonely. You can reassure your child that you are going to be there by saying things like:
Be clear and honest
Answer questions as honestly as possible based upon what is age-appropriate.
Most children and teens respond fairly quickly to treatment. Your child feels depressed now and doesn't realize that things will get better. You can reassure by saying: "Even if it doesn't happen right away, we will have you feeling better."
Don't ask why he or she feels depressed. Children and teens who are depressed can't answer questions like, "Why are you crying all the time?" or "What do you have to be sad about?" Asking them only makes them feel worse, like they are supposed to control their depressed feelings when they can't.
Don't tell your child to change how he or she feels. Depressed children and teens cannot just "snap out of it." They can't help how they feel and they can't make it go away by willpower.
Don't compare your past feelings to your child's depression. It's not helpful to say, "Well, when I feel badly, I just pull myself up by my bootstraps," or "When my childhood dog died, I just had to get over it'."