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Raising a Teenagers with Depression: The Challenge of Dating
Written by: Anonymous
I haven’t posted anything on Erin’s blog because for a long time, things had stabilized with my teen. Then came the first “date” and the first “relationship” and now there is more to share. As a parent of a teen with depression you know dating will have even more challenges beyond the stuff “normal” teens deal with. It’s a thin line between happiness and depression that you walk along trying to balance allowing them to have enough stress but not too much, dealing with their own problems without becoming overwhelmed and growing up to function in the “real world.” Dating poses other problems. Add to this a boyfriend or girlfriend without a mental illness and now you have not just one teenager to worry about but two.
My teen is lucky. Her significant other is fairly mature, has a good head on his shoulders and generally can handle her ups and downs. But once she was overwhelmed in school and got “down” for more than a few days, it was hard for him. He wants to “fix” her, but there’s no fix to be made. He wants her to be happy, but sometimes she just isn’t. So he worries about her, which while nice that someone else is too from my perspective, can be overwhelming to her. And when he has problems that she can’t fix, that makes her sad too, and adds to her stress.
So what do I do as a parent? The answer is support them. It’s not just enough to support her, now I need to support him too. I try to explain her depression to him, and try to help him understand her defense mechanisms. I hope that he understands that this may be harder than a normal relationship and I hope he thinks she’s worth it. I talk to her extensively, I check in with her, and I try to help her understand her feelings. I hope that the two of them both know that this may be tough but I hope that they can work through it.