Parents Help Cause Child Depression

In today’s society child depression rates are higher than ever before with one in eight adolescents suffering from depression. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teens and the 6th among children. And recent research suggests that children from more affluent homes are three times more likely to be depressed than their poorer peers.

One of the things that are pushing children and teens towards depression is their parents. At least that is according to research presented by psychologist Madeline Levine in her book The Price Of Privilege. Many children raised in middle-level or wealthy homes are pushed to succeed. Their parents “hover over all aspects of their lives.” As a result the children feel like they are always falling short of their parents expectations. “The most dangerous feelings a child can have are of self-hatred, yet middle-class parents are unwittingly instilling those feelings by expecting so much,” she says.

Because of this constant meddling and pushing children do not get a chance to deal with difficult situations themselves thus feeling that they are not capable of solving their own problems. Although on the surface these children appear happy, and should be since all of their physical needs are met, they are really sad, lonely, and lack self-confidence.

Parents should not expect their children to excel at everything. Dr. Levine recommends that parents give their children time to do things on their own and in their own way. Allowing them to discover who they are. It is also important that parents be there to just talk, not push an agenda, but just listen to their child’s thoughts and feelings on a daily basis.

Researchers have also found that children who have parents that are depressed or stressed are more likely to be depressed themselves. Experts aren’t sure if it is poor parenting that leads to the child’s depression or if the child is rejected because they are depressed and difficult to deal with. Dr. Carol Watkins suggests several different situations that can lead to child depression:

  • A child may give up because their parents have not taught them good coping skills.
  • A genetically vulnerable child is more likely to develop depression when exposed to family stress.
  • Parental patterns of irritability and withdrawal can lead to low self-esteem and child depression.
  • A hyperactive child is difficult to raise and parents may not be able to cope.

Whatever the reasons current research seems to show that parents can play a part in their child’s depression. Do you think parents help create child depression?

See these related blogs for more information:
Causes of Child Depression

Recognizing Child Depression

Privileged Children At Greater Risk

This entry was posted in School age - Teens and tagged , , by Teresa McEntire. Bookmark the permalink.

About Teresa McEntire

Teresa McEntire grew up in Utah the oldest of four children. She currently lives in Kuna, Idaho, near Boise. She and her husband Gene have been married for almost ten years. She has three children Tyler, age six, Alysta, four, and Kelsey, two. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to scrapbook, read, and of course write. Spending time with her family, including extended family, is a priority. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and currently works with the young women. Teresa has a degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and taught 6th grade before her son was born. She also ran an own in-home daycare for three years. She currently writes educational materials as well as blogs for Families.com. Although her formal education consisted of a variety of child development classes she has found that nothing teaches you better than the real thing. She is constantly learning as her children grow and enjoys sharing that knowledge with her readers.