How Incentives Can Get Your Depressed Teen More Involved

First thing to clarify is that an incentive isn’t a bribe. When it comes to depression, it can be useless and insulting to imply that the promise of a treat is enough for someone to shake their depression. Also, if you aren’t sure your teen is dealing with depression, you may want to take an assessment before you implement any strategies.

Once it is clear that your teen is depressed and you’re looking for some way to help them out of their slump, there are some approaches you can try.

Low Commitment Incentives

When dealing with your struggling teen, getting them out of bed can be a struggle of titanic proportions, let alone getting them out of the house.

Depending on your teen’s normal areas of interest, you can invite them to join you on your daily activities. Places or things that may interest your teen:

  • Grocery store – While they may not care about getting basic groceries, you can invite them to join you so they can select ingredients for that night’s dinner and you can help them learn to cook their favorite dishes.
  • Library – You have to take back the books anyway, so why not bring your teen along and go inside instead of using the book drop? While reading alone time isn’t the most ideal way to combat depression, reading can help boost their interest in other activities.
  • Outdoor activities – If you enjoy things like biking, running, hiking or other outdoor activities, it would help alleviate your teen’s depression if they added exercise and sunlight to their regular routine. Make sure they know they are welcome to join you when you do these things and they will be able to see from your behavior how this boosts your mood.

Incentivise Communication

Good communication is vital to helping your depressed teen get through their depression. But healthy communication can be difficult when your teen doesn’t want to function.

Some ways you can incentivise communication can be:

  • Therapy – Depending on what brought on the depression, the issue your teen is struggling with may affect the whole family. So instead of having just them attend therapy, suggest a combination of family and individual therapy. This will keep your teen from feeling isolated and like they are the only one with a problem.
  • One-on-one time – Adult life is full of responsibilities and it can be hard for struggling teens to reach out to parents who seem too busy. By setting up regular one-on-one time, your teen will see that you prioritize them and may be more likely to open up to you.

These suggestion depend on why your teen is depressed and uninvolved. You may have to investigate on your own if your teen is unwilling to communicate.

But by taking small steps, you can start by give your teen gentle incentives to help them move out of their depression and start re-engaging in life.

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