The depression is one of the most stigmatized disease in our society, which does not mean anything other than make those who lock themselves may suffer more on themselves, which in turn does not help out the situation. As with other ailments of a mental or psychological nature, it is known about it in the most intimate environment, so that it is the closest family and friends who have to deal with situations that are, to say the least, complicated. Sometimes those who have depression are parents, so the children live it very closely without knowing very well what is happening.

If depression is difficult for many adults to understand, imagine what it can mean for a child or adolescent. They are not prepared to face something like this and the one who should give them all their support and help them understand it is precisely the one who is fighting against it in the first person. Children can suffer a lot with the depression of one of their parents and, above all, they can feel very lost and not know why this is happening.

The initial bewilderment

The fact that mental and psychological disorders are taboo – albeit less and less – in our society makes it difficult for children to understand them. If your father is diagnosed with another type of ailment, you can get an idea of ​​what is happening, but when it comes to depression, it is normal that he is a little lost. And that in case there is a diagnosis, because when it is not even like that it is even more complicated because in reality he does not know what happens.

Parents want to protect their children and in order not to make them suffer they tend to hide or disguise some situations that they believe may be difficult for them. This is derived from the desire to prevent children, even adolescents, from feeling bad or sad. In general, parents are not aware of how strong their children can be and, above all, that it can do them more harm to imagine what could happen than to know for sure.

Blame yourself for what happens

For this reason, in the event that one of the parents suffers from depression, it is best to talk about it in the family so that everyone knows what is happening. Failure to do so can achieve precisely the opposite of what is expected: the children will begin to draw their own conclusions and, in many cases, come to blame themselves for what is happening. They tend to think that the change they have seen in their parent could be derived from their behavior and that if this is the case, it is their fault.

This is not only a misconception, but also counterproductive because it makes the little ones carry a responsibility and guilt that they do not have. They may try to do something to change that situation and will see no response from their father, increasing guilt. If the children are very young, it is difficult to explain to them what depression consists of and why their mother or father is going through it. Even adults don’t have answers to these questions , so they won’t be able to answer them.

The important thing is that the children see that there is communication and that they are counted on. It may be that parental explanations are not enough and they need other support, such as psychologists to help them understand what is happening and overcome it in the best way.

Carrying out responsibilities

As we said at the beginning of this article, depression is a disease that is lived in the privacy of the home and that is why it not only makes those who suffer from it suffer but also those closest to them. In addition to feeling responsible, other family members may seek to fill the space that, because of depression, their parents cannot fill.

That is why they tend to take on responsibilities that do not concern them, such as taking care of other family members or tasks such as taking care of cooking or keeping the house in order. It is important that the children begin to have responsibilities within the home as they get older, but it cannot be that they assume them from one day to the next and for the mere fact that their father or mother is not capable of doing so.

It is common for children of parents with depression to mature faster than the rest of their peers of the same age for that reason, because they feel that they must do so so that things at home continue to work. It should not be allowed, as far as possible, that the children carry this tremendous responsibility, which does not cease to correspond to the parents.

It is not only the responsibility itself, but the fact that it is associated with a series of burdens that are not typical of people of their age. In addition, they assume that to attend to them they do not have time to do what they should, such as having fun, playing, going to school, studying … It must be remembered that children -or adolescents- are just that and should behave as such, they should not be those who assume the obligations of the elderly.

An incentive to overcome the disease

In a sense this can also be a way to help your parents get out of depression. Knowing that your children need you and not seeing them suffer is an incentive to try to overcome the disease and regain normalcy at home. The step to take is to seek psychological help as soon as possible.

There is no doubt that to overcome a depression in the family all members have to do their part, not just the one who suffers from it. Children are a fundamental part because they can provide the impulse that their parents need to achieve it, but it also forces them to mature more quickly to understand the situation and, sometimes, they will blame themselves for no reason or assume responsibilities that do not correspond to them. It is necessary to know how to find the balance between all of them to make them participate in what is happening but at the same time not suppose an extra burden for the minors.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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