Saturday, July 18, 2009


According to Nunley, “Causes of depression number almost as high as symptoms of depression. There appears to be a genetic factor to depression. Families with a history of depression often exhibit the symptoms during adolescence (Fritz, 1995). And depressed children frequently come from parents who have been depressed. Besides genetic predispositions to depression, social skills deficits may also contribute. These social skills deficits are harder to determine as it is difficult to find whether the inability to form good social skills causes, or results from the depression (Lamarine, 1995). Sexual orientation adjustment problems have also been linked to depression, especially in communities with strong social pressures. A study in currently underway with the Utah Department of Health to study the link between homosexuality and adolescent suicide (Wagner, 1996).”

One of the greatest points of the above paragraph is the reference to genetic depression. Over the years, when I have encountered a child who appears to be depressed, I have arranged for the mother and father (if possible) to meet with me. Invariably, one of the parents exhibits symptoms of depression or admits to being on medication or in counseling for depression.

Also, in more situations that I care to admit, the depressed parent, the one who has suffered with depression for years since his/her own childhood, has made the decision to wait and see if the depression goes away by itself!!!! Well, would a parent wait and see if a genetic heart condition went away away? Would a parent wait and see if genetic lung trouble went away by itself?

Of course not! Along those same lines, when depression is genetic and your child displays some of the same characteristics, get him/her in to see a Counselor as soon as possible, so that negative effects of depression are not given the opportunity to compound over the years.

Continuing with Nunley's research, "Coincidently, the peak age of depression and low self-esteem coincides with the transition from elementary to junior high school. This age may have an inability to deal with the new social demands as well as academic demands of a new school (Feldman & Elliot, 1990; Eccles, et. al., 1993).

There appears a relationship between latch-key kids and depression. Unsupervised adolescents are more prone to substance abuse, risk-taking, depression, and low self esteem (Richardson, et. al., 1993). One of the factors that correlates with recurring depression is a negative relationship between adolescents and their fathers along with an inability of the mothers to monitor behavior (Sanford, 1996)."

I could not have said it better myself! When kids enter the middle school environment, they subconsciously realize that they have left the “safe world” of their elementary schools, an environment which had kept them safe since the age of 4 or 5. Many kids thrive when released from the constraints of an elementary environment, while others shudder at the fear of being given more freedom and responsibility.

Additionally, and this might hurt a little bit, unsupervised kids are almost always more prone to negative behaviors, as the belief begins to set in with kids that nobody cares about them. It might be difficult in these troubling fiscal times, but it must be a priority for kids to be supervised by somebody who cares about them! The preferred after-school caretaker is a mother or father, with other relatives or close family friends taking the role as secondary choices.

HOWEVER, while latch-key programs can fulfill an excellent role as caregivers on a part-time bases (once or twice a week), to hand over full-time caregiving to a group of folks who are simply doing it for a paycheck and who don’t necessarily care about the overall development of your child and who most likely won’t be around when your child gets older, well, you’re just asking for your child to get involved with negative and socially unacceptable behaviors, including drinking, drugs, sex, and, of course, it provides ripe soil in which depression can thrive.

Come back next Saturday for the rest of this article - looking for signs of Depression and getting the help that your kids need. Hang in there!

Paul W. Reeves

No comments: