Maintain a Close Relationship
Obviously, the closeness that you developed during the difficult period of your child's depression is one that you want to keep going. While your child may not need your attention in the same way, he nevertheless continues to need it. Your child needs to have quality time with you, even though he might say he doesn't. Particularly with teenagers, even though they think they do not need you at all, this is not the case.
For a younger child, find activities that you enjoy doing together. Better yet, if there is something your child truly enjoys, participate in that whether you enjoy it or not. Find things that the entire family can do together that will continue to encourage the bonding process.
Studies show that families who do things together have closer relationships. Take turns with your child in planning a family night. Let him decide what to have for dinner or what fun activity you will do together. This will help remind your child that he is an integral and enjoyable part of your family!
Continue to ask your child how he is feeling but not necessarily as it relates to his depression. Keep him engaged by asking his opinions on all sorts of things such as what's going on in the world or school happenings. Foster an atmosphere of acceptance and non-judgment so that he will feel free to share his feelings with you.
Teenagers are famous for not wanting to be around their parents. This does not mean that they do not value your input or your presence — you just probably won't hear about it! You may not get a lot of positive reinforcement from your participation with them, but understand that they are aware that you are available to them.
As a parent, you want to avoid being too intrusive and yet you wish to stay knowledgeable about what is happening. Are you asking a question because you need to know something or you are actually being a bit nosy? Respect your child's privacy and save the questions for important matters.
Whatever you do, keep talking and trying to engage your child. Ironically, a teenager will usually report that no one listens to him. He may roll his eyes or act as though you are irritating him, but ignore this and ask him how he feels about certain things. Encourage his open expression of his opinions and thoughts. Spend time with him, but don't smother him.
Teens are famous for finding strange times to share their feelings and worries with you. Your teen may wait until late at night or right before bed to approach you. She might crawl into your bed and snuggle beside you while she talks in the dark. This actually provides her with a sense of being invisible that in turn makes it easier to talk. She may prefer to call you on the phone with the distance between you providing that same sort of a barrier of invisibility. She may talk more freely by writing you a letter or e-mail.
Don't overlook these conversations just because they aren't always happening face to face. Remember that these very important conversations you'll have with your teenager need to happen in a way that makes your child feel secure and not judged. Most of the time it will happen off the cuff. This means that they will happen when you least expect it. When your teenager does decide to talk, be prepared to stop what you're doing and listen.