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