How to Talk to Your Depressed Child

as featured at The Gospel Coalition
This article originally appeared on the The Gospel Coalition blog on November 12, 2019. Read the entire article at this link.
When we were preparing to bring our first child into the world, my husband and I scoured books for parenting advice. We imagined a bright future for our child—one filled with joy and accomplishments. But the baby books failed to mention that our child’s life story might include a long, unpredictable battle against depression. This harsh reality blindsided our family, leaving us confused about how to disciple our precious child through such a complicated issue.

I’ve navigated my own seasons of depression as an adult, but I never thought I would have to watch my preteen endure a similar struggle. As my husband and I watched her struggle with constant feelings of self-doubt, grief, and apathy, we had to learn firsthand what 2 Corinthians 1:4 explains: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (NLT).

During that time, I repeatedly returned to certain truths God had used to comfort me during seasons of sorrow. Together, my daughter and I tried to navigate her fears about the future by faith, recalling those God-given consolations and clinging to them as a life-preserver amid stormy seas. Grounding ourselves—an imperfect mother and a depressed child—in the hope of the gospel was the only comfort I could offer when the despair became too much for her to bear.
Depression is one of many experiences that can be incredibly, even debilitatingly, difficult. But caregivers should help children to remember that life in a sin-cursed world results in all kinds of seasons—not just the pleasant ones.
How to Talk to Your Depressed Child
Christine M. Chappell
Christine Chappell is the author of Clean Home, Messy Heart and Help! My Child is Depressed (forthcoming with Shepherd Press, Spring 2020)She hosts The Hope + Help Project podcast and has completed biblical counseling certificates with the Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship. Christine's writing has been featured at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, Servants of Grace, and Thrive Moms.
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