The Impact On A Teenager Whose Parent Suffers From Depression
Depression is a very serious disease. The life of the person suffering from the illness is not the only life effected. Depression can also have a huge influence on the children of those suffering from it. Despite a parent's efforts to hide their disease, children's perceptive nature often make them aware that their parent is struggling.
When a parent is depressed, they will often retreat into their depression. This can lead to a disconnection from their children. While they are lying in bed, unable to function, they are spending less time with their children. As a consequence, the children will spend more time alone. The disconnection that is present between a child and their depressed parent fosters a much more emotionally damaging relationship and home environment.
The Child Becomes The Parent
When a parent is depressed, it is not uncommon for them to avoid their responsibilities due to their disease. Because they are struggling to take care of these responsibilities, there are many children who will overcompensate and feel overwhelmed. Older children find themselves caring for younger siblings because their parents cannot. The child may even begin taking care of the parent by bringing them food, cleaning the house, and trying to maintain their parent's positivity. Children with a depressed parent spend more time as a caregiver, and are thereby forced to grow up at a much faster rate.
Sympathy And Guilt
Children are very observant, and are easily able to tell when a depressed parent tries to hide their struggles. Younger children will often feel guilty. Many come to believe that they are the source of Mom or Dad's tears and unhappiness. When older children realize this, they feel the responsibility to offer sympathy and be a shoulder to cry on. Most parents are unaware of the fact that their children know what is truly going on. Nonetheless, the combined sympathy and guilt that a child feels can have a lasting effect on them.
When a parent is depressed and does not seek treatment, they are allowing more than just themselves to suffer. They may believe that they are protecting their children from their condition, but no matter how hard they try to avoid it, their depression will have a presence in the lives of their children. We can help, all you need to do is call us! 1-800-560-1599