Talking to a Child with Anxiety or Depression

It can be difficult to see your child suffering from anxiety or depression. Additionally, he or she may become more sensitive to your input. You may find yourself trying to be extra mindful of your child’s mood and reactions. This is normal. We’ve compiled a list of “dos” and “don’ts” for when you feel like you’re walking on eggshells.


  • Let your child know you’re there to help them get through this.
  • Engage in discussion about their everyday life, including friends, school, sports and more.
  • Talk about positive events to look forward to.
  • Remind them that this feeling of doom won’t last forever.
  • Ask your child’s permission to seek professional help.


  • Get frustrated with your child personally. Their anxiety/depression isn’t their fault.
  • Ask why they’re depressed. Depression can come on for no reason at all.
  • Bring up negative experiences that have recently upset them.
  • Downplay the thing that’s upsetting them. To them, it’s a big deal.
  • Force your child to see a behavioral health specialist if they aren’t ready.

If you and your child feel that professional help is something you’d like to explore, your UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics provider can refer your child to a Behavioral Health Specialist. Keep in mind, the first visit is an assessment only. Your provider can answer any questions you have before moving to a decision.