Childhood is great and it is probably the most burden free period of human life. You're under the shelter of your parents, safe, sound and jolly (at least that's how things are supposed to be). When we reminisce about times long passed, we usually go back to our childhood because that was a time of carefree exploration, with nothing but free time on our hands. The first time we start facing some serious issues is probably in our teens.
There are a lot of reasons why this is so, some of them are biological and some of them sociological, but it is quite apparent that nobody passes through these teenage years with no trouble. Teenage years are a time of great changes for both the body and the mind. Also, within this period, there are a lot of new things happening, like falling in love, dealing with school and obligations, thinking about the future and so on. It can be hard for a young mind, and you should keep a close eye on your child, just in case he or she needs a bit of help getting through it.
Not every teen experiences depressive periods, but some teens may get into real trouble when faced with this situation. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on teenagers, and it comes from facing more complex social interactions, increasing obligations (school, extracurricular activities, hobbies, etc.), finding their place within society and so on. Teen depression and teen moodiness can be difficult, especially when we take into consideration the fact that it usually exposes itself through angry outbursts. Being increasingly against any kind of authority , especially with their parents, is normal for a teen and it is to be expected, but prolonged periods of this type of behavior should be considered a sign of depression. Here are some other prominent signs of teen depression:
- Avoiding friends and family
- Lack of energy
If you notice any of these with your child, it might be the time to pay a bit more attention to his or her life, but don't be pushy and make sure that you give them time to try to deal with it themselves. If this behavior persists, you should most certainly react. Adults can seek help when they get stuck with depression, but teens are not in that position and they may need outside help.
School can be tricky to handle, and not every teenager has an easy time adapting to the amount of obligations school carries with it. Motivating is the best thing you can do for them at this point. Don't try to yell them into motivation. Using fear and aggressive behavior can be counterproductive and it may trigger depression so, make sure you use positive reinforcement and motivate them in the right way.
Again, I have to stress that you don't overdo this. Not every child that has success in school has success later in life. If your child shows a greater interest in a hobby than in school, who are you to stand in their way. Don't let them fail but don't make them spend every waking hour studying, preparing and thinking about school.
Teens are facing the way they look in a significant (romantic) way for the first time. We, the "adults", are somewhat at peace with the way we look and have learned to live with our "flaws", but teens are different. They will overthink their every flaw, and flaws are things that get in your way only when you recognize them as something that stands in your way. If you ignore and learn to live with them, you are much better off. You can help your teen surpass a vain outlook on life and make them feel proud of who they are.
You can help them with some things though. First off, let them choose their clothes. No teen wants to go to school in the clothes their mom picked out for them. Pimples can be quite an issue for a developing teen, so make sure you find some way to help their face clean up. Help them grow out of bad eating habits and try to inspire them to develop a healthy interest in sports.
Teens can be a strain on the parents' nerves and a source of constant worries, but the best tip I can give you is to develop good communication with your child, earn their trust (no, trust is not a natural thing in parent-teen family relations), and show a lot of patience. Good luck!