Saturday, July 25, 2009


(Continued from July 18, 2009) ....... Continuing with last week's article - based upon the research by Dr. Kathie F. Nunley:

"There is a negative correlation between depression and athletic participation. Although adolescents that participate in athletics do not show a decrease in drug use, they do exhibit significantly less depression and suicidal tendencies (Oler, 1994)."

Yes, it is true, the best-adjusted kids are those who stay occupied, believe that their activities have purpose, engage in the activities of their choice, and feel as though they are part of a larger cause, such as an athletic team. Band, choir, debate, chess club, reading club, etc. also serve the same purpose.

"Another factor associated with adolescent depression and negative behaviors is difficulty in establishing autonomy in the adolescent's relationship with parents. Adolescent depression is seen in higher frequency in families where the children have difficulty establishing their own identity because of negative communication patterns and other dysfunctional family attributes (Allen, et. al., 1994)." In other words, if the parents are psychologically messed up and have refused treatment or assistance, the kids are more likely to be messed up, as well.

One topic that permeates the research on depression is the concept of self- esteem. There has been a long standing correlation between low self-esteem and depression. The views on self-esteem are changing more rapidly than even the views on depression. The traditional thinking with self-esteem was if one could improve the way an individual perceived himself or herself, then the secondary behaviors that accompany low self-esteem would disappear (New model, 1995). This traditional philosophy is taking a new direction."

Ah yes, if we feel good about ourselves, as well as our relationships and contributions to society, depression is lessened!

So, the secrets are as follows:

a) Pay attention to your kids and let them know that you care

b) Have an after-school/evening/weekend caregiver who cares about their development as a human being (mom, dad, grandparents, good family friend, etc.) and stay away from latch-key programs on a full-time basis

c) Find your child's interests and get him/her involved with programs that are tied to those interests (Music, Sports, Academics, etc.) and allow your children to have the time to excel and be involved with those interests

d) Get help for parents (yourself or your spouse) if one or both suffer from Depression

e) Set-up an appointment with a therapist for your child if genetic Depression exists in your family.

Kids were born to be loved and taken care of by their parents, not by the rest of the world. I know that it can be trying and I know that time and money can be short, but, believe me, after having seen hundreds of cases in which parents did not follow the 5 aforementioned steps, the dividends that you will receive from spending time with your kids (such as getting them involved in activities and addressing Depression - especially when it is along genetic lines) will far outweigh any financial gain that you will receive in your lifetime!

Hang in there and love your kids with everything that you have!!

Paul W. Reeves

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