As children grow into puberty and become young adults, they go through tremendous changes physically and emotionally. They begin to feel sexual attractions; they question the meaning of their lives; and they seek answers to their future.
Peer pressure, combined with the secular indoctrination our youth learn through public education and media, combine to form a dangerous set of emotions based on feelings of hopelessness. Identifying early signs of depression are crucial to helping our youth develop into well adjusted adults. If not addressed these feelings of hopelessness are manifested through self-injury or suicidal thoughts.
Early signs of depression include withdrawing, an obsession with video games and social media, a change in dress and appearance and sudden strong rebellion.
A few points that might be of help:
- Assure them that God has wonderful plans for those who believe in and trust Him. Life will present problems, but God is more than capable of overcoming them. The difficult lessons we learn today build a solid foundation of experience for a lifetime.
- Assure them they are not alone in feeling hopeless—nearly everyone does at one time or another as life’s problems mount.
- Share your personal experiences of how you overcame doubts and problems and how God has strengthened you through it.
Fourth, lovingly assure them through your own experiences, that today’s “crisis” is not really a crisis at all. Share how you felt as a teen and the times you felt you were in “crisis”—and how God has used those problems to strengthen you.
Lastly, develop open honest communications with your children. If they know they can talk to you about anything without fear of condemnation, they will open up to you. Become an effective teacher, drawing on your youthful emotions and experiences, showing how God has used them to strengthen your faith in Him.
- Word on the Way
- You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
- — Galatians 5:13-14