To find more topics and series like this, start here. To learn how to use our tools for mentoring, train here.
It can be hard to know how your teen is really doing. Learn some signs to look out for that could mean your teen is depressed.

Dealing with a depressed teen can be scary, difficult, and confusing for parents. Often, teens don’t want to share verbally what they’re going through, so parents need to build the skills to observe their teen’s behaviors to find out more.

[Related: What Is Clinical Depression?]

Signs of Depression in Teens

What are some signs of depression in teens? Look for changes in normal behavior such as eating or sleeping patterns. Are they avoiding or no longer enjoying things they used to do? Are they less involved with activities, friends, and family? These could be signs of depression.

School performance is another area that may show warning signs of depression in your teen. If their grades or interest/participation in school have changed drastically, take note.

Teens and Social Networks

Social networks can be challenging for parents to stay on top of, but these days, it’s crucial. Kids can be bothered by things that are going on online, like cyberbullying, that you never catch wind of, and they could also use private blogs, forums like Reddit, etc., to share their feelings with friends or strangers online without talking directly to you.

[Related: How Social Networks Can Ruin Teens]

There’s never harm in trying to find out more about your teen even though they may be reticent to share with you. You can point out specific changes you’ve noticed and ask about the reasons for those changes. Especially if your child has expressed behaviors or thoughts of self-harm, you should be proactive and take appropriate steps.

[Related: Teens and Cutting: What You Need to Know]

Parenting teens is hard, and depression is often part of the process even for happy-go-lucky kids. Don’t get discouraged. There are resources you can turn to – including right here at FLEXTALK.org – and with proper guidance, your teen will make it through the tumultuous season of adolescence.

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Have you noticed signs of depression in your teen? What are these signs and why do they stand out to you as worthy of note?
  3. Do you know the social networks or smartphone apps your teen uses? Name them. What steps must you take to be more involved in this sphere of their lives?
  4. Has your teen shown signs of self-harm either verbally or physically? Explain.
  5. If you feel your teen has demonstrated some changes that might point to depression or self-harm, what’s your action plan for sitting down to talk about it? Be specific.
  6. Other than right here at FLEXTALK.org, what are some resources in your area that would be helpful for you and your teen? If you don’t know any, what steps can you take to begin assembling a list of resources?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
This topic is adapted from the Howcast YouTube channel. Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.