We all have been through the adolescence stage. It is a phase where your body and mind undergo a lot of changes. The transition from childhood to adulthood can be quite challenging for both the children and the parents. Furthermore, a teen’s life is stuffed with many stressful activities, the study pressure, look-good pressure, be the friendliest among the circle pressure, etc. And most of the parents are not even aware of what’s exactly going on in their teen’s life. The stressful activities make teens anxious, moody, and grumpy. And these eccentric behavioral patterns could be one of the signs of teen depression.

According to WHO, 16% of children aged between 14 to 19 suffer from mental conditions. The studies also confirm that depression is one of the root causes of learning disability in teenagers. I agree it’s not easy to learn the signs of depression. Every teenager has a unique mental makeup and accordingly, it starts adapting to the environment around. Teenagers with a stronger and adaptive mindset learn to fight the stressful situations they face. But the ones who are weaker succumb to depression.

But the question is how to surmise that something is wrong with your teen? Well then, here are a few common signs of teen depression that will help you to pull out your child from distressing situations. (The signs are common in girls and boys, but I will use ‘he or him’ to refer a child, just to avoid confusion)

Lies in the Bed All-day

One fine day you realize that your child is not active as before. And isn’t sick either but he doesn’t wish to step out of the house. He doesn’t like playing outdoors and prefers lying in the bed the entire day.

This is the primary sign of depression. He might have fought with his friends or has not fared well in his exams, and hence, isn’t stepping out. But his behavior should not continue beyond a week. If your teen continues to lie in bed for a few more days, then maybe it’s time you take him to a mental health consultant.

Doesn’t Mingle with New People

Of course, I agree some children are introverts, they are shy. But when your child has been active and friendly with new people for a long time, and suddenly he stops being friendly with new people, then maybe he is going through some mental stress.

Teens have a tendency to lie. They do not disclose everything to their parents. Hence, you as a parent may have to take the charge to get the details out from your child. Some experts say teen depression is common these days. But as a parent, you must learn to help your teen to get out of the depression.

Avoids Friends for a Long Time

Once you are in school and college all you love is hanging out with friends. Sleepovers or Pajama parties, and group studies are common during teenage years. Around 60% to 85% of teenagers prefer such get-togethers regularly. Even introverts enjoy with their set of people.

But of late, if it surfaces to you, that your child isn’t as outgoing as before, then maybe there is something that is holding him back. You must talk it out and let him know things will be fine if he sorts out his issues with friends amicably. And that there is nothing to get depressed about.

Loses Temper When Asked Questions

Well, almost all teenagers become cranky and irascible at a certain stage in life. But if your teen is depressed for a very long time then he may not answer your questions immediately. On confronting him, he gives you strange replies, that you can’t relate to.

Also, after asking repeatedly, your child just slams the bedroom door on your face is a sign that he is going through some stress. Maybe talking to his friends can throw some light on your teen’s condition. But make sure this doesn’t affect your rapport with your child.

Keeps Brooding All-day

I don’t know if you can relate to this, but most teens brood all day when they are preparing for their exams. The most common brooding activity is ‘staring at the wall’ (yes it is, and it isn’t funny at all). When your child isn’t happy to study, he will lose interest in preparing for the exams.

Above all, if you pressurize your child to study, he will be stressed. And that will further deteriorate his mental health. The more your teen is forced to do things that he doesn’t like, he is likely to become anxious. This could be one of the prominent signs of teen depression in your child.

Uses Drugs to Get Relief

Studies show that children as young as in 8th grade give in to substance abuse. They have access to prescription drugs (cannabis) either from their friends or relatives. If you notice any erratic behavior in your teen, then he might be under influence.

You can always talk to your child about his issues in a friendly manner. Assure him that you will stand by him no matter what. This will give a sense of confidence in your teen. And he might open up and let out his anguish.

Talks Negative- Sometimes Suicidal

Your teen may not talk directly to you about the negativity in his life. But yes, you can draw inferences from his unruly behavior. He might just say, “I don’t like this life, I want to quit” or “why always me, I need a new life”. There may be other ways through which you could make out what is disturbing your child.

Always be careful when you talk to your teen about his problems. It is not necessary that he has suicidal thoughts. He might be just worried about some random issues in his life. But do get him talking and if you see anything extreme, seek a child psychiatrist’s help.

Lost Interest in Studies

Okay, this one might be a little tricky. But children who are studious and all of a sudden, they lose interest in studies is a sign of teen depression. Obviously, not everybody likes studying, it is a stage where laziness seeps in and children just avoid studying.

But if you know your child is sincere and has been performing well at school, but of late he isn’t faring well then there might be something that is troubling him. If you notice him keeping the books open and not concentrating on homework, then you must talk to him. Declutter his mind with positive thoughts.

Doodles Odd Figures or Pictures

Let’s accept, we all doodle when we are stressed, or thinking of something. But the teens draw weird or eerie pictures when they are sad. The doodles could be geometrical figures as well.

You just need to analyze what is disturbing your child. Some of the most common negative doodles are sad faces, messy and asymmetrical drawings. If you find it difficult to infer, then take the drawing to a professional who can help you to understand it.

Shares Melancholic Posts on Social Media

You should be happy if your teen has added you to his friend list on social media. Not all teens accept their parents’ friend requests. Also, some children make dual social media profiles to avoid their parents’ nagging.

So, if you have observed some frequent sad posts on your child’s profile, then don’t jump to a conclusion. Just talk to his friends and gain some insights into your child’s social life. Either he must be going through a relationship crisis or he must be being bullied at school.

Listens to Only Sad Songs

Maybe this one is quite obvious. Not all teens like sad songs. They listen to sad songs only if they are hurt. You may not come to know whether your teen is listening to gloomy music as he might be using headphones.

But a quick noticeable action would be he humming a somber song. Again, it doesn’t necessarily mean your teen is depressed. But yes, humming sad songs day in and day out could be a sign of teen depression.

Locks Himself Up in a Room

After a long fight with friends or parents, teens often lock themselves up in their rooms. But if there is no such issue and still your teen locks himself up, then it’s a red flag. Normally, teens lock themselves up for two reasons, well one is obvious you know (to watch explicit content). And the other one is when they are upset.

The second reason should be an indication that your child is in some unknown trouble. Reasons for depression could be many but you as a parent need to figure out how to make him learn to deal with stressful situations.

Doesn’t Let You Check His Phone

Some children are obedient enough to let their parents check their phones. But some teens are mischievous and incorrigible. Children mostly keep their phones hidden from parents to keep their personal life a mystery.

But if your teen is into some illegal activities, then it may cause serious damage to his life. So, you must confront him once in a while to understand who his friends are. Invite all his friends over lunch and discuss their career plans. That way you’ll learn how serious your teen is with his life goals.

Doesn’t Let you Talk to His Friends

If you are good friends with your teen’s best friends, then you must call them up. If your child shows signs of hesitation and stops you from calling them, then come up with your first question, ask him “why?”.

Signs of reclusiveness and avoiding friends is also a sign of teen depression. Additionally, if you are asked to cut ties with his friends, then clearly your teen is hiding something from you.

Doesn’t Have His Meals

If you are depressed, either you go binge-eating or you stop eating. But with teens it’s different, they avoid having meals on time. Depression makes a child lethargic and inactive for a prolonged period.

If your teen stops eating a healthy diet and feeds on junk food, then too it’s a sign that he is going through some stress.

Frequently Lies About Exam Results and Money

Not to mention it’s a clear indication if your teen lies about his academic performance. He is undergoing some mental stress. Oftentimes, if your teen asks for more money, it’s a sign of concern.

Teens ask for extra pocket money either to spend on friends or to buy drugs. So, be cautious when you lend money to your kids. Be vigilant about their activities. And check where they spend the money.

Stays Awake till Late Hours

Teens binge-watch web series and movies in their spare time. But children who stay awake to watch videos online till 3 am or 4 am do have some mental health issues. The reason behind staying awake till midnight could be a sign that your teen is looking for some space alone.

He is not interested in the outside world and wants to forget the mental agony. You may have to check for other signs as well to discover what kind of mental trauma your child is going through.


It is agreeable, that it’s not easy to detect the signs of depression in your teen. Many children have the habit of going overboard with unproductive activities. But if your teen is not happy and is going through some stress, he will show some definite signs of depression.

It is not that only one sign will prove that your teen is under depression, but a combination of them will give the idea. So, if you discover that your child is under emotional stress, just talk to him and make him comfortable. A parent’s assurance to be with your child through thick and thin has the greatest healing power.

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