When a parent is depressed children suffer

just read an article on psych Central, one of my favorite mental health webpages confirming what family therapists have known for years.  That children being raised in a home where a parent is depressed is at increased risk for a variety of psychological problems.Not only does depression make one parent less available emotionally, there is rarely discussion about what is happening in the family, leaving the children confused.  In these families, children tend to take on more responsibility than they should and frequently blame themselves for their parents’ unhappiness.Children, of course, are at less risk if parents get treatment for depression.  And some of the treatment should involve family therapy.  But just as important as the therapies is how the depression is viewed by the family. If it is seen as shameful, or a character weakness and never talked about, the children will continue to be harmed.  On the other hand if it is seen as is a brain disorder that is treatable, life gets more manageable for everyone.And speaking of brain disorder, from a genetic perspective, children of depressed parents are at increased risk for having their own depression.  As they grow, they should be made aware of signs and symptoms and risk factors. And it is critical for parents to role model the attitude that depression is what someone has and not who someone is.This study was done with depression.  But the same would hold true for any chronic illness in the family.  The more it is open and simply becomes a fact of life, albeit a difficult one, the less it becomes a burden for everyone in the family.http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/03/09/children-at-risk-when-parent-depressed/4613.html

Continue Reading