Camille Adames, President of iDENTIFY Impact’s teen organization called TLT (Tomorrow’s Leaders Today), speaks to parents on the topic of teen depression & anxiety.
Is your teen struggling with depression or anxiety?
Are you both feeling helpless and not sure what to do?
Six Tips to Help You Navigate Uncharted Waters
Hello, my name is Camille Adames and I am the President of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (TLT). My path to presidency was not an easy one. From eighth to tenth grade, I struggled with severe depression and anxiety to the point where I was almost suicidal. I still live with anxiety, but it isn’t as severe, and I have learned to live with it thanks to the support of my parents. I am here to testify that you, as a parent, can be there for your child. And want to encourage you that it is an obstacle that can be overcome. By following RISSSP, you have the capabilities as a parent to support your child and help them obtain a brighter future.
It isn’t easy trying to solve an issue if you don’t understand it . In order to tackle depression and anxiety, you need to first understand what exactly it is. Search online for scientific journals, testimonies, psychiatric publications, and parenting tips related to depression and anxiety. There is no such thing as too much research or irrelevant information; the more you know the more equipped you will be. Instead of watching TV, my parents would be on the Internet doing research and printing out all the information they could find. It helped to bring peace of mind, and more importantly, they were better prepared to help me.
2. It’s Okay to Cry!!!!!
This is a very difficult moment in your life. You will feel hopeless and lonely, and these are powerful emotions. It’s okay to have emotions, and it is critical that you express them freely. The last thing you want to do is bottle up these emotions and release your anger, frustration, and sadness on your teen. Your teen is very vulnerable and will blame himself or herself for the pain they are causing you, which can push them further away. Crying isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s the healthiest way to release your emotions. Let all the negative energy out, so that you have the energy to tackle your teens depression and anxiety.
3. Support for You
Don’t underestimate the situation or the amount of energy it will require. Right now, your teen is in a very dark hole, and you are trying to pull them out. No one has the endurance or strength to do it alone, so it it critical that you have a support team to rally around you. Your pastor, spouse, friends, and family are all great support systems, and it is fundamental that you talk to them about what is happening to your teen. You might be surprised to hear that they have gone through a similar experience. Their ability to empathize will help you emotionally, and their experience can also help you to better handle the situation with your teen.
4. Support for Them
After you have prepared yourself, it’s time to support your teen as they struggle with depression and anxiety. As a parent, you need to be there for your teen 24/7. They are drowning, and they need to know that you are close enough to pull them out. Listen to them and encourage them to express themselves safely and freely. You don’t have to be the only support for them; get the school involved. My parents were my greatest support, but when I was at school I felt safe knowing that there were teachers and counselors that I could trust if I needed to get away. The school can help alleviate a lot of the stress, and they can create a nurturing environment for your teen and help them navigate school as they deal with their depression. Additionally, psychologists and therapists are important. Find a psychologist that you and your teen trust. Make sure that they explore all the options with you. There isn’t just one way to deal with depression and anxiety, so it is important to have a well-rounded psychologist.
5. Simplify Life
Slow down. Just like the flu, depression is exhausting and it is something that takes a lot of time and energy to manage. Lighten your teen’s schedule and slow down the pace a little. Your teen can begin to feel agitated and more depressed when they realize that they aren’t able to keep up with their normal routine. Help them to understand that it’s okay, that now is a time to heal. You don’t want to completely remove your teen from life, instead create a routine that is flexible and allows them space to work out what they are going through. Do things with your teen. Take them to the beach, and create positive moments instead. If they aren’t responding, that’s okay. You want to expose them to the good moments in life.
6. Patience and Hope
The key to all of this is patience. This isn’t a sprint and to a destination; it’s a slow journey. If you feel like you were finally making improvements, don’t be surprised when it seems that you have returned to square one. It may take years or months, depending on your teen, but that shouldn’t matter. Just know that it will take time, as well as trial and error, but as time passes things will only get better as you learn what works for your teen. I am a testimony to my parents determination, patience, and hope. In the beginning, my dad would get impatient, but that only pushed me further down. He soon learned that being compassionate and giving me time was the best thing he could do, and sure enough it worked. Their hope and patience was the light I needed to see in order to climb out of the hole I had fallen in. There is a hope knowing that this situation isn’t permanent and that you and your teen will only come out stronger and more equipped to take on the world.
Daniella Hernandez, one of the teen leaders from iDENTIFY.Impact’s TLT (Tomorrow’s Leaders Today) Team, speaks to parents about having “Communication Transformation” with their teen!
As a parent, do you find yourself feeling like…
“My teenager would rather talk to anyone but me.”
“Why does my son or daughter value their friends’ opinions over mine?”
Mom or dad, if this is you, lean in and read this short expose. My hope is that you will apply my top four tips to improve your parent—teen relationships! Hi, my name is Josiah Wright and I am the Vice President of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (TLT), the student government division of iDENTIFY Leadership. My involvement in this organization has given me many opportunities to learn about myself and my relationships. From my teen perspective, it would be an honor to help you, as a parent, to better understand your teen. I’d like to introduce you to four ideas I know will help: Freedom Over Fear, Leading by Example, Keeping Your Love On, and “HOT” Communication. These tips should help shed light on the role your teen wants you to play in their lives.
1.Freedom Over Fear
“It’s crucial that when we see or talk to people, regardless of the circumstance bearing down on us, we see or feel somebody that believes in us and loves us.” – Heidi Baker
Fear can be one of the most difficult things to overcome, especially if it has been present for a long time. It can have a major influence in the choices we make. Teens desire to experience security and freedom in their relationships, but commonly struggle when it comes to their parents. Fear of being punished and fear that they’re not able to measure up to the standard set by their parents is a great hindrance to open and free relationships. My personal experience, and I am usually a more closed off person, is that when I do something wrong I am generally afraid to tell my parents in fear of disappointing them. If they recognized this, they could create a safe space for me to communicate by assuring me that I am free to express myself without fear of punishment or disappointment. This would be so freeing.
2. Leading by Example
“It’s the leader’s (parent’s) job to be the example of love and forgiveness.”- Danny silk
Parents, it’s very important that your teens look to you as an example in each situation and for all types of problems. I do realize that we sometimes do dumb things. Even we often look back and think, “Why in the world did I do that?” Seeing how my parents handled things, even in the most ridiculous circumstances, plays a big role in how I will handle those situations myself in the future. So, for example, if as a parent, you demonstrate unforgiveness in relationships, it’s very likely your teens will emulate that behavior in their relationships.
3.“KYLO! Keep Your Love On!”
“Trust goes both ways, but starts with the leader (parent) in the relationship!” – Danny silk
Trust is a big deal. Another way to describe trust is keeping your love on. Keeping your love on can be described as making your primary goal in relationships to move towards closeness and connection. So, when we are being transparent and telling you (parents) how we feel, we are keeping our love on. We need you to help us. Hint: if we aren’t talking to you, it’s because we are having a hard time trusting or keeping our love on. “KYLO! Keep Your Love On!” By Danny silk
“Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open, and Two-way.” -Dan Oswald
Sometimes when I have something wrong and I don’t know how to talk about it with my parents, I hope and pray that my dad or mom would somehow initiate talking about the subject, simply because it feels awkward for me. Teens can feel dirty talking about things they feel guilty about. At times, I will play out a conversation in my head, but the outcome is never good if I am living from a place of fear. I need to be reminded in those dark places that my parents always want the best for me in life. Things rarely get resolved in a healthy fashion until parents sit down with their teens and remind them that it is safe for us to be honest with them. It is usually effective to ask yes and no questions. So, when we seem standoffish, it is likely because we are confused and don’t know how to talk to you, not that we don’t want to talk to you.
With these four tips, you can have HOT (Honest, Open, and Two-way) communication between you and your teen, and can move out of Fear into Freedom and Lead by Example. Parents, please remember, it is so worth it to Keep Your Love On and make the main goal in your relationship to close the distance between you and your teen.
Silvana Espindola, TLT (Tomorrow’s Leaders Today) Chief of Staff, speaks to parents about the importance of friend groups!