Clinical depression in children
As a therapeutic boarding school, Boulder Creek Academy provides educational programs designed to help teenagers with behavioral difficulties. One such difficulty Boulder Creek Academy is designed to address is clinical depression, which is experienced by approximately one in 20 children in the United States. Depression can take several forms, including major depression, which causes extended periods of sadness that interfere with a child’s daily activities; dysthymia, which has less dramatic effects but can persist for a year or more; and bipolar disorder, which causes periods of depression to alternate with those of irritability and emotional outbursts.
Clinical depression is not merely the occasional sadness, lack of motivation, or low self-confidence that almost all children experience. Expecting a child to “snap out of it” or scolding a child for showing a lack of interest in his or her responsibilities is liable to upset the child further and intensify feelings of unworthiness. Likewise, it is rarely helpful to explain to a child why he or she shouldn’t be depressed, since major depression is not a rational response to pain or loss. The child may be fully aware that he or she has no specific reason to be upset, but this realization may not be enough actually to relieve the child of depression.
Depression can be caused by numerous factors. Traumatic life events such as a death in the family or parental separation can trigger long periods of serious depression, and its incidence is higher in children who have attention or learning disorders. There may be a genetic component as well, as some genes result in reduced levels of neurotransmitters that normally produce feelings of satisfaction or happiness. Because of this, children are more likely to experience depression if it is present in other family members.
For 23 years, Boulder Creek Academy has provided therapeutic services and a stimulating learning environment for socially immature and clinically complex students in grades 8-12. Located in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Boulder Creek Academy focuses its efforts on students with learning disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Parents of children with ADHD play a major role in the academic success of their children. Below are three ways to help your child overcome ADHD and excel in the classroom.
Make a calendar: Because children with ADHD often struggle to keep organized, you can use a calendar to help your child stay on top of his or her commitments. For an added layer of organization, color-code the calendar or use a digital platform.
Establish a homework routine: For many children, the home environment can be a highly distracting place, making it difficult to complete homework on time. By creating a designated homework space with minimal distractions and setting aside time every day for homework, parents can help children build a daily routine.
Teach prioritization: Children with ADHD may have trouble prioritizing their activities, ending up feeling overwhelmed by everything they have to do. To teach prioritization, parents can use a color-coded “priority level” system on a calendar to help instill this important skill.
Boulder Creek Academy
Boulder Creek Academy, a therapeutic boarding school located in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, has extensive experience working with students between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. In particular, Boulder Creek Academy’s program helps students who struggle socially or who have a nonverbal learning disorder or low self-esteem.
Many parents struggle to support a child who has a tough time navigating social environments with peers and making friends. The child might not want to go to school due to being a victim of bullying, for example, or he or she might feel socially isolated. While parents might feel powerless to help, there are a number of approaches they can take to better understand their child and provide assistance.
First of all, parents should avoid the mindset that something is wrong with their child because he or she has trouble building friendships. Instead, they should think of interacting with others as a skill. While some children are naturally good at this skill, others take longer to learn. However, children can make progress with the right therapeutic guidance and with supportive practice. For instance, parents might focus on teaching particular skills, such as small talk or understanding nonverbal conversational cues.
To help a child build self-confidence and provide situations where he or she can learn and practice these skills, parents might also work to encourage the child’s interests, whether they relate to music, sports, art, or another area. This can provide an outlet for the child, especially if the activity takes place outside of the child’s regular school environment. Since many times teasing or bullying can arise out of a social hierarchy at school, engaging in activities outside of school with different peers can be a big help.