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How can you help your depressed child find God again? It’s difficult enough for a parent to help a depressed child. After all, no parent wants their child to suffer. But when the family is religious, and the child stops believing in God, what can an adult do?
The first thing to do is not blame your child for being depressed, and loosing faith in God. Depression is a real illness. It affects the brain, body, emotions, and even spiritual well being. Depression makes a person feel alone and isolated from the world and God. Telling your child that depression isn’t real or, that God exists, doesn’t work. This talk only pushes your child into despair and away from you and the world.
Focus on the positives in life.
By focusing on the positives in your child’s life, you’ll help your child find hope and love again. That will lead the child back to God.
A person can forget all the wonderful traits and attitudes he/she brings to the world. It’s always nice to be reminded of the things that make you wonderful and special. The key is to show your child how irreplaceable he/she is.
Challenging belief in God is natural and should be welcomed.
Teen years are when young adults push the limits of what they can do. They also challenge authority. So, when a child challenges belief in God, it’s a natural thing to do. Everyone asks questions and looks for deeper meaning to life. People want to know where they fit into the universe. When a person is depressed, the quest for answers to life’s meaning takes on a bigger dimension. It might just give an reason to stay alive.
The Bible is a full of stories of depressed people who lost faith in God. People like Job, King David, and Moses became depressed. These men questioned their purpose in life. They got angry when things didn’t go their way, and even thought about dying. Job, King David, and Moses each challenged God, asking if God really exists. They wanted proof God was on their side, or that He was still there. Yet in the end, each of these men found God again.
It’s okay to loose faith. It’s healthy to ask, “What’s the meaning of life?” We’ve all done it. If you believe your child will never believe in God again, challenge that thinking. A lifetime is a long time. Anything can happen. Even faith can be restored.
Help the healing process.
Recognize the challenges that are making your child depressed. It can be anything from divorce, death of a family member, trauma, bullying, or abuse. Depression can also be genetic or caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Because there are so many causes of depression, it’s important to understand why your child is depressed.
Once you recognize the cause, get professional medical help for your child. While prayer and faith healing circles can be beneficial, they will not cure depression. Depression physically alters the body’s chemistry. Chemicals that help the brain stay focused and on task are reduced to very low levels. Medication increases these chemical levels so your child isn’t in a brain fog.
Prayer is good but don’t push it
Prayer is the personal connection between a person and God. While you might want to push prayer on your depressed child, such a tactic can easily backfire. Everyone prays in different ways to God. Some do it quickly as inner dialogue while working. Others take a more solemn approach. Whatever way your child chooses to pray is fine. Because any personal relationship with God is just that. It’s personal.
Helping a depressed child find god requires love and patience. Don’t bully your child into accepting God. Work with what you know about depression. Get professional help for your child. Persevere in the knowledge that God doesn’t forget anyone.
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