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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Hi Jack.

Skip to 0 minutes and 18 seconds How are you doing today? Good. Good.

Skip to 0 minutes and 25 seconds How do you think I’m doing? There’s obviously something wrong with me. Here we go again. What do I have to do to get through to him? You know, your mum and I were talking recently. We were saying you haven’t had any of your friends over recently. And you know, we haven’t given you a lift to Dan’s or Bob’s. Do you fancy going and seeing one of your mates? I’m fine. No?

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds I’m pathetic. I’ve got no friends.I wish I could just make him feel better. I mean, I could give you a lift today. I’ve got time. I’ll happily give you a lift.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds I’m useless, a disappointment to both of you. I don’t know where the old Jack has gone. What about tomorrow? I’ve got time, actually, almost all day. In the morning or, well, you’re not gonna want the morning. You’re never up. But in the afternoon, I could give you a lift in the afternoon. I’ll just relax. I need my parents to get friends for me. I bet they wouldn’t want to see me anyway.Your mum and I were saying that we’re really, it’s really good that you can relax. But you don’t see your mates. You don’t help around the house. You don’t, I mean, your mum said your room looks like a bomb site. You need to tidy to your room.

Skip to 2 minutes and 9 seconds Oh, come on.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 seconds I’m no good at anything. I’m messy and a waste of space.

Skip to 2 minutes and 19 seconds Jack, you need to tidy your room. It’s fine. I can’t believe I just lost my temper with him. I don’t know what to do. This is hard.

They say, you hear

Watch this video featuring Jack and Pete (both played by actors) speaking to each other. (Please note that this video was filmed prior to the pandemic and the lockdown guidelines).

What do you think got in the way of Jack and his father being able to communicate well?

How to prevent mis-communication

To try and avoid some of this confusion and misunderstanding, give others time to express themselves, and try to pause and think about what they’ve said, and what they might mean before letting your thoughts run away with you.

Once you’ve paused and listened, if you’re still confused or if it feels like they’ve said something challenging, calmly ask for more information. Remind yourself that the person talking to you (or the person listening), may be feeling low or agitated right now. Low mood and depression has a sneaky way of twisting what we hear and making us interpret things much more negatively. Is one of you misinterpreting what has just been said?

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This video is from the free online course:

COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression

University of Reading