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Thursday, April 17, 2008 ML31, Community Member, asks

Q: Is my son being a normal teenager or is he depressed?

I'm worried about my 14-year old son. He's always in a bad mood, hasn't been doing his homework, has been withdrawing from his friends and it's a struggle to get him to get out of bed most days. Is this normal teenage behavior, or could it be something more serious? I don't want to scare him or cause him to isolate from me even more, but I'm getting worried about him. Should I take him to a doctor?

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Answers (4)
Vicki M, Editor
4/20/08 12:17pm

Hello ML31,


It's tough when your child begins to experience the emotional turmoil of growing up. Sometimes I think we forget how it felt when we were their age. Then again, times were different when you and I were teenagers versus now.


There are some links to information here that I can give you that will give you the information you need to ask all the right questions and determine if you think you need to speak to your family doctor. First, you can read about teenage depression here. The signs of teenage depression are listed here.


Online advice is a wonderful resource, however nothing takes the place of your doctor's care and advice. Your son is of the age that he should probably see his doctor at least once a year just for check ups. That might be a great time for the doctor to ask your son about his mental well being. It's a common conversation between doctors and teenagers. While your son may exibit some of the signs of depression, the best thing is a visit to the doctor to rule out any issues, particularly if you believe there is something going on more than just teenage angst.


Deborah Gray wrote a good article here about recognizing the signs of depression in a teenager. She says' "One of the most important signs overall is change. Don't just brush off any change in behavior as a normal part of growing up. Some change is normal, obviously, but when the changes are all negative, that should tell you something." Deborah also suggests enlisting the help of a school counselor, teacher or coach who might be close to your son. Sometimes it's easier for kids to speak to someone other than Mom or Dad. 

I hope this helps. Please stay in touch and let us know how you and your son are doing!

Vicki M

TSmiley, Community Member
4/15/11 11:47pm

Hi, My son is 13 and he was recently sexually assaulted by one of his friends. Heis now very sad, he has no appetite and all he wants to do is sleep. I hate to see my boy so sad. He spoke to me this evening about the situation and is fed up with the feeling it has left him and he is tired of having no friends. I am unsure of how to help him besides counselling and my love for him.

I need someoens help NOW before its too late.



Dartmouth NS

Lois, Community Member
5/15/08 11:46am

Hi ML31,

I've taught High School for over 10 years, and mostly 9th graders.  I have seen many, many teenagers over my career. High school is a real adjustment. Ninth grade and age 14 is a difficult age for both teens and their parents. Having said that, I strongly suggest you make an appt. with your regular physician for your son and make sure your doctor knows why you are concerned.  The doctor should also talk to you. I think it's best if the 3 of you chat for at least a few moments to let your son know you are a support for him. Additionally, you need to know what's going on.  Do not be shy about getting a second opinion. Rereading your note - a student who doesn't get along with anyone, and I imagine he sleeps or puts his head down during many classes, and doesn't complete homework is certainly at a risk for not earning his credits to graduate. I know you can imagine how that would make things worse and worse.


Keep track of his grades and classroom behavior by contacting his teacher.  Ask your son's Guidance counselor to speak to him, perhaps on an intermittent, but regular, basis.


I commend you for noticing the change in your son's behavior and mood and, then, seeking help. You must be a good Mom.     Lois

Jacqui, Community Member
11/ 1/08 11:03am

Ask your son if anything is wrong (like a fight with friends ect).  I am 13 living with deppresion and I acctualy find it easier to get out of bed because I never fell asleep.  If the behavior continues I would call your doctor.  Just remember to give him some space.

Jenlee, Community Member
11/11/08 2:01am

I am having the same problem with my son.. H is 14 years old and seems like he does not have any energy in school or even at home.  But I believe it is a hormone issue, just always talk to him and invite him to do things with you or the family.  Try to get him in a group like hiking, climbing, horseback riding, etc.. se if that could help


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By ML31, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/31/14, First Published: 04/17/08