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How parental depression affects children

Babies feel the depressive states of their parents and react vividly to any change in mood. Depression is not only your problem, but also a danger to your child.

under 8 years

Wachanga psychologist gives advice to parents on how to act in difficult situations and maintain a good relationship with their baby.

Parental depression will certainly affect any child. At the same time, the baby feels not only depressive states (for example, seasonal depression), but also prolonged depression.

How to identify parental depression

  • One of the clearest signs of the onset of depression, which is easy for a child to detect, is communicating with a child via commands: eat, stop, go, give, give up, and so on.
  • The parent ceases to reflect positive feelings and emotions on the child, does not smile, does not hug. All communication is limited to meeting the physical needs of the child.
  • The feeling that a child does things for attention, and screams and cries only irritate the parent.
  • The parent may become more cruel to the child during these periods, resorting to screaming, spanking, shaking the child.

Parental depression affects the psyche of the child. Becoming an adult, if they dealt with this as a child, they will be more prone to depressive conditions, and loss of confidence.

What the child sees and how they react to your mood

A child under the age of one year strongly feels maternal depression. They clearly sense when their mother treats them with disdain or lacks emotion.

  • If the mother feels dislike for her child during this period, she will control them and take part in all their actions, and the baby will become angry at this, be capricious, avoid them - this is how they protect themselves from unnecessary interference.
  • If the mother rejects the child, they themselves will become detached, trying to find comfort on their own (for example, they begin to suck on their thumb or swing). If a kid becomes inattentive and quick-tempered, their intellectual development may slow down.

Children a little older feel the depression of adults just as clearly. It is difficult for a parent in a depressed state to set boundaries for their child, and if they exist, then to enforce them. This leads to problems in the communication of the baby with their environment, aggressiveness increases, in the future this child may have problems with socialization and already feel depressed.

What to do

If you find signs of depression in yourself or a loved one, then you need to seek help. There’s different ways.

  1. First, we have to admit that there is a problem. This is already the beginning of recovery.
  2. Support from other family members helps. It is important that during a difficult time someone not only helps with the upbringing of the baby, but also notices the depression and supports the parent in that time.
  3. It is important to learn some relaxation and self-control techniques and try not to generalize the child's actions ("he always ...", "he is constantly ...").
  4. Support groups for parents can be very helpful, especially if the child has health problems. Don’t only rely on parenting forums on the Web.
  5. The most relevant and effective solution is to contact a psychotherapist, counselor, or psychologist with any questions and concerns.

Be healthy and happy with your baby!

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