3 Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Depression in Their Kids (HPC: E58)

Warning – sad statistic. 🙁 The 2nd leading cause of death for kids ages 10-24 in America is…suicide.

I’m not okay with this!

Let’s talk this Depression Awareness Month about prevention – there are research-based strategies that parents can use to reduce their kids’ chances of being depressed. While depression isn’t the only risk factor for suicide, it is certainly correlated.

If we can make these practices a part of American culture, we can save American kids!!

Mayo Clinic lists the following about depression:

One of the potential causes:

Learned patterns of negative thinking. Teen depression may be linked to learning to feel helpless — rather than learning to feel capable of finding solutions for life’s challenges.

And one of their 4 preventative steps:

Take steps to control stress, increase resilience and boost self-esteem to help handle issues when they arise.

Today I’m expanding on these 3 things parents can do to raise depression-proof kids:

  1. Control stress – in yourself and then model and teach your kids to do it for themselves
  2. Boost self-esteem – through genuine purpose driven work, not empty compliments
  3. Increase resilience – by letting kids learn to cope with failure and difficulties

It is so important that as parents we do these things with our own kids and share with others. The rate at which depression and suicide are rising is scary! We can’t sit by and be silent while kids are suffering and dying.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Foods that Fight Depression

Here at Kids Cook Real Food it’s my mission to teach kids to cook, but also to connect parents with the education, experts and tools they need to raise resilient, healthy kids. Part of that is spreading awareness of statistics like this and getting a conversation started about how we can change things for our children and teens. I hope you come away from this encouraged that there are intentional steps you can take to help the kids in your life.

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Preventing Depression Video Time Stamps

  • 0:11: October is Depression Awareness Month and we’ve been sharing interviews with professionals who specialize in mental health. Today I’m going to talk about the rising rates of suicide in teens and some steps we can take as parents to reduce our children’s chance of developing depression.
  • 0:23: One of the most concerning statistics I’ve heard this year is that the 2nd leading cause of death among kids ages 10-24 in America is suicide. We get so nervous about our children getting cancer or a serious disease and make changes to our diet or lifestyle to keep them healthy. Are we intentionally taking the same amount of care to decrease our kids’ chance of developing depression or becoming suicidal?
  • 1:24: The topic of suicide came up at our dinner table not too long ago. I share how I addressed it with my kids.
  • 2:37: I shared this meme on my Kids Cook Real Food facebook page recently and rising rates of depression and suicide came up in the comments. My mission is to get kids in the kitchen and teach them life skills so they can be more resilient. Whether they use my course to help with this or not, that’s what I want for kids. I share memes like that because I want to help raise awareness of these startling statistics about depression and suicide so that parents can equip themselves with the tools to help their kids.

What causes depression?

  • 4:03: Mayo Clinic confirms the point I was making that depression can be linked to a learned feeling of helplessness versus being taught how to be independent and competent. We’re going to talk about one of their preventative steps.
  • 5:20: Obviously there are other factors that play into depression and suicide, but there are intentional steps you can take to lessen your child’s risk.

If they have a strong sense of self, they are much less likely to be depressed. -Katie Kimball

Strategies to Avoid Depression

  • 5:52: First is to control stress. You can start by managing your own stress. There’s something called mirror neurons in your brain. When you see something in someone else, your body will subconsciously mirror that. (Think contagious yawning!) Have you ever noticed your child acting more stressed, tense or emotional when you are?
  • 7:42: You can also teach your kids recharge techniques to manage their own stress. Everything in life is an oscillation, a series of ups and downs. You need a time to work and a time to rest. You can’t just push, push, push and always operate at max capacity, and neither can your children.

Let's set realistic expectations for our kids. "Doing your best" goals. -Katie Kimball

  • 9:20: Your kids can use the same strategies as adults to calm down: breathing techniques, mediation and gratitude are all things you can do as a family.

The Self-Esteem Crisis

  • 9:46: I kindof cringe when I hear “self-esteem.” I think we’ve diminished the value of the word. We take it to mean “I need to tell my kids they’re doing well all the time.” True self-esteem comes from feeling a sense of purpose.

The best way to get kids motivated to cook is to have them cook for someone else. If their skills are filling a person’s need, they can feel the purpose in their accomplishment. -Katie Kimball

  • 10:35: I tell parents who need help motivating their kids to have them cook for someone else. They will get a sense of self from seeing how they were able to make an impact and fulfill a purpose. Empty compliments can’t compare to the intrinsic worth kids feel when they’ve done something with true purpose.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 3 Ways to Build Brain Resilience

  • 11:33: Allowing kids to follow their own passions and gain competency also contributes to their self-esteem. There’s something called the competence-confidence loop where the more competency you gain the more confident you are in your ability and you continue to pursue competence and carry on the cycle.

Raising Resilient Kids

  • 12:13: I’ve talked before about increasing resilience in kids. Letting kids fail is a key component to this. Allowing them to experience and grow from failure while they’re in your house is usually safer with less negative ramifications than waiting until they’re grown up and moved out. My interviews with Jess Sherman and Jessica Lahey go into this deeper.
  • 12:59: My mom is a substitute teacher and she had a bullying prevention training earlier this year. I share about the conversation we had afterwards.

Things are gonna go wrong. The best gift we can give our kids is to teach them how to get through it. -Katie Kimball

  • 14:48: Remind kids going through a tough spot of the finite nature of the problem compared to the longevity of their lives. For little kids you might only have to extend their perspective to the next day, for teens look to adulthood. This is obviously not a magic pill for every situation, but it’s helpful to have the skills to look beyond the problem with hope that they can get through it.

Teaching Kids to Handle Adversity

  • 16:13: I just listened to a great podcast by Katie of Wellness Mama. She interviewed Margot Bisnow author of “Raising an Entrepreneur.” She said that the common thread she found among young entrepreneurs was adversity.
  • 16:54: We need to let our kids try hard things, take risks and build the capacity and skills to deal with adversity because it will come in their lives. You are there supporting them, but not doing everything for them.

We want our kids to know that they have a purpose, value and meaning in this world beyond what they can feel in the present moment. -Katie Kimball

Resources We Mention About Depression Prevention

3 Ways to Reduce your Teen's Risk for Depression


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