Advice for parents

This is our first time listing here. Both of our teenage kids have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression for several years, take daily meds and see psychologists. What advice can you give as to what we should do when they don't want to get out of bed. Should we encourage/nag or simply let them "be" knowing we are here when they want to talk or do something?

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  • Whoa. This isn't easy. Do they attend school? Are they homeschooled? Are they capable of doing something productive once awake? Many teens want to sleep the morning away and they aren't depressed or anxious one bit. Your job is to determine whether your teens are so sick they can't function or if they would be better off getting up and doing normal things as best they can. Not perfectly, not even close, but the best that they can given the current status of their mental health. Determine each child's functionality separate from the other.

    Depressed people find it very very hard to get their day started. It's the hardest part of their day, so keeping a known wake-up routine can be very good for them. They will often need help getting over this hump. Procrastination may rear it's ugly head here. Showers may get skipped and skipped again and so on. It's important to try to keep them educated as appropriately for their ages and abilities as possible or they will stand out as different not only in mental health but by their age.

    See if you and their therapists can be united in your message to your teens regarding why they need to get up and do their required school work and/or jobs if this is a problem. Free rides on Mom & Dad's bill are only for the very ill and not part of normal life for persons treated successfully for depression and anxiety. How much each child is capable of doing you and the psychologist need to determine to the best of your abilities. Include the teens if they're willing to talk honestly. This picture will change over time and needs to be kept on top of.

    Of course it's nicer to reward for a job well done, but sometimes there are penalties also. I think you have to be ready for both. Natural and logical consequences are my favorites. They depend very much on the individual child and his/her dislikes and likes. Privileges taken away/granted can be useful. Favorite entertainment and games and so forth can be lost for non-performance. Anything can be taken away here if you're their sole support and they are capable of doing something but refuse to do their job. Their "job" may be getting up and dressing and sitting in the kitchen to eat breakfast and maybe read or watch a little TV or a movie because that's all they can do right now. Or their "job" may be getting a certain amount of school work done. It could also be going to work at a brick and mortar store of some kind for a few hours. I think you get the idea.

    What you don't want to create is an environment that's so comfy and non-demanding that you end up with 2 Failure-To-Launch children. That's just what I call them. FTLs can live with you forever and don't understand why you keep trying to make them be responsible. They think they ARE responsible. And you are a parent supporting a child or two for the rest of your life. I hope this doesn't happen to you and that your children are successfully treated for their illnesses and go on to enjoy normal, happy lives.

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