Tips for helping a child with a depressive disorder

Tips for helping a child with a depressive disorder

Before my child was diagnosed with a depressive disorder (aka depression), the only experience I’ve had with it was in adults. I knew the predominant mood was sadness, so wouldn’t that mean it’d be the same for a child? Wrong, in children the predominant mood is irritability. I believe if more people and parents knew that one fact, more children(and families) would be able to get help. Instead of a child getting written off as having over-activity, aggressive and antisocial behavioral problems.

We continue to learn everyday about what works and doesn’t work for my son, but we have learned a ton over the past couple years. If your child has recently been diagnosed, or you’re just looking for some new tips to try. Keep in mind not every child is the same, but maybe one of these will work for you.

  1. Difficulty just ignoring things; noise canceling headphones are a great easy tool to have at home and at school, fidget tools are also good tools to have at home and school great for anxiety.
  2. Set a safe zone; designate a spot your child can go to when he/she is feeling irritated or embarrassed and set it before something happens. Their bedroom at home, a chair right outside their classroom door or the office, a bench at the playground. Just remember to talk about it with your child before, so they know where and that they have a spot they can go to for a cool down period.
  3. 504 plan; if you don’t have one already, talk to your child’s school and Dr to get one set up. This will really help not only your child but your child’s school. It is tailored to meet the needs of your child.
  4. ¬†Keep your laughs to yourself, unless… You could simply be laughing because your kid said something cute or funny but unless they’re telling a joke don’t laugh. They are being serious and they will get embarrassed and that could/will lead into a meltdown.
  5. Learn your child’s cues. This is probably the most important one, sure you may think you already know them all, and maybe you do. Hear me out. Grab a piece of paper and start jotting down things that set him/her off, ways to calm them down, things that work for them. When you’re done make a couple copies give it to other adults that are around your child.
  6. Diet. No, I don’t mean put your child on a diet. Eat foods high in B12 and folate, or take vitamin supplements. They are known to balance the mood.
  7. Crowds may not be the best choice if your child is already having a irritable day. As well as any function that is overly stimulating. If it is mandatory they have to go, don’t forget those headphones, fidget tool, chewing gum, something to keep the calm.
  8. Talk with your child; this one’s important you want your child to know they can trust and come to you to talk. Whether they’re feeling sad, embarrassed or irritated. Let them know your there to listen and/or help and give them tools to help themselves.
  9. Discipline. Chances are you have to get after your child at least once in their lifetime ūüėČ But a child with depression/anxiety, you don’t necessarily discipline them definitely but how you do it is very important. The best way to discipline a child who embarrasses easily is to take them aside, away from the people who they think are watching and laughing at them.

There are so many other ways to help a child with a depressive disorder, these are just a few. Learn your child and your families needs. You are your child’s biggest advocate!


voices of special needs blog hop
Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by¬†The Sensory Spectrum¬†and¬†The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop?¬†Click here!

Raising a child with special needs! (June Special Needs Blog Hop)

Raising a child with special needs! (June Special Needs Blog Hop)

My child has special needs. It might not be the special needs in your mind, he doesn’t have a physical disability or learning difficulties.

special needs :
(in the context of children at school) particular educational requirements resulting from learning difficulties, physical disability, or emotional and behavioral difficulties.

special needs blog hop

My child has a depressive disorder and anxiety. So, if you were to just look at him you wouldn’t be able to tell he has special needs. Which can be very difficult in situations.

It is not always easy to to identify depression in a child, as some children the predominant mood is irritability rather than sadness. The irritability associated with childhood depression may manifest as overactivity and aggressive, antisocial behavior. 

My son’s biggest triggers include irritability and embarrassment. Which in either of those situations he has a very hard time controlling his emotions and they can easily become aggressive. As a parent it can be very difficult to watch and deal with; you want to comfort him, but also teach him techniques to control those emotions.
It can make it even harder when it looks like a tantrum but really it’s a meltdown that he cannot easily control. When people around him don’t know how to react and a simple laugh can be interpeted by him as someone making fun of him and he gets even more embarrassed and lashes out even more.
When another voices their opinions that when he is having a meltdown over something that he physically and emotionally can’t handle, that I should punish him. What makes that okay?!

I think the hardest part of raising a child with a mental illness, isn’t that he has special needs, it is the people around us. After time you learn your child’s cues and ways to handle your child’s specific needs. But it’s the people around you that affect how situations will turn out, will it be a stranger or maybe someone who knows your child but isn’t willing to understand and help your child.
So, I’d like to tell all the parents raising a child with a mental illness and special needs; you are strong, your children are strong. Surround yourself with people who care and aren’t toxic for you and your family!

voices of special needs blog hop

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!

Why you should watch ’13 Reasons Why’ on #Netflix #13ReasonsWhy

13 reasons why

Many are talking about the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. I had never even heard of the novel or even had any intention of checking out the series until I caved in after seeing friends on Facebook talking about it.

13 Reasons Why Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.


So, you may be wondering WHY YOU should watch it? Especially that it sounds too sad.

It is sad, sad that someone – a girl so young could take her own life and we’re watching a series about it. That’s not the reason you should watch it though. It’s the perfect watch for you, parents and families with teenage children. As much as you hate to admit it, it truly depicts those teenage years so many of us experience. I’m not sure if the show/book is based on true story but it’s happening in so many of our young peoples lives whether they’re the victim, a witness, or the offender. This is a subject we all shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about, whether we’ve experienced bullying first hand or going through it at the moment. I’ve been there too – a victim of bullying and had thoughts about just disappearing and suicide but I survived and truly believe it shaped the person I am today.¬†We need to stand up to this subject and nip it in the bum!

Suicide is a serious matter. Teens, adults and even children use this as a way out – to end the pain and suffering. But people shouldn’t need a way out. Don’t be ashamed to get help, don’t be ashamed to help someone.


After you’ve watched it whether you watched it alone or with your teenager, talk about it and frequently, both subjects shouldn’t be ignored.

Have you watched the series yet? What did you think?

Since I haven’t done a Mason update lately. #childhoodmentalhealth

I’ve written before about Mason’s health and how the last two springs/end of winter have been for us. And earlier this year I shared we had to seek help and that my son was diagnosed with a mental illness. I wanted to be open about that, because there’s nothing to be ashamed of and we didn’t want to hide behind it.

Cognitive behavior therapy has worked out wonderfully for us, his counselor is great and has given us so much helpful advice.

We also got him on a 504 plan and the school has worked with us tremendously and choose the perfect teacher for him this year. She has truly been a blessing for us, most importantly Mason. He’s able to use techniques and objects to help him day to day.

A great read by Understood. The Difference Between Tantrums and Sensory Meltdowns. These happen to us a couple times a year and like the article says “To manage a meltdown, help your child find a safe, quiet place to de-escalate.” And his counselor literally just gave us this tip last month but find that safe spot right when you arrive, because anyone who’s had to deal with it knows there is no way of talking with a child in a meltdown stage.

Receiving a diagnosis was the best thing we could have received, it has opened up so many doors for us. The 504 plan and his laid back teacher have made it so he doesn’t fall behind and/or miss too many days of school – huge improve from last year. Visits with the counselor we’ve learned a thing or two, just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you know everything! Most importantly it has taught us so many ways to cope with him or teach him how to cope, what his triggers are and how to avoid them. Even though I still feel we are learning, it is a huge improvement from last year.

childhood mental health

Raising a child with a mental illness

As a “lifestyle” and “parenting” blogger, I decide every day whether to showcase our lives on the interweb. Somethings are harder to decide if I should keep¬†personal¬†or write about it. Take the subject this post is focused on, at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to broadcast it completely but then I thought there is nothing to hide or be ashamed about.

My child was diagnosed with a Depressive Disorder. He’s very intelligent, social, caring, strong-willed, determined, but also has his struggles. Just like a lot of people do. Well, we needed to seek help and guidance and I’m so thankful we did. We want him to succeed in life. There is nothing wrong with having depression or any other mental health, the sooner you realize that the better. You are NOT weak, you are strong!

He’s had his struggles for some time now, but the end of the last school year we decided it was time to seek help.¬†He’s currently been doing¬†cognitive behavior therapy all summer¬†and really hoping it helps during school, because that is where we see a lot of behavior problems, he gets very irritable. I just want him to grow up responsible, independent and the best he can be.

What is Depressive Disorder?¬†Characterized¬†by sadness or irritability that is severe or persistent enough to interfere with functioning or cause considerable distress. Although in childhood the more persistent symptom is irritability rather than sadness. Depression runs in our family but I have actually never seen it in a child, only adults.¬†After getting the diagnosis and reading all the symptoms and info, has really helped put some of Mason’s struggles in perspective. It is a nice feeling finding a pathway!
A mental illness is not something to be ashamed about and the more people speak up and recognize it, the better. I love my child and nothing will ever change that!

2016 will be the year to focus on my families mind, body and soul!