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9 Year Old Continuously Sad

  • 17-05-2016 6:42pm
    Registered Users Posts: 70 ✭✭

    My nine year old daughter in the past few weeks has been very teary and complains of always being sad. She blames school but mostly says she doesn't know why. She's starting to develop physically and I'm wondering if this is the start of the dreaded puberty/hormone storm or if it's something else entirely.

    I don't want to start pathologise her as depressed at such a young age and it has only been a few weeks. But it's hard to know how to respond.

    Thoughts would be welcome.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,809 ✭✭✭Speedwell

    Whether it is puberty or not, it is not normal to feel sad all the time, no matter what age you are. It's not pathologizing to wonder if it is depression any more than it is pathologizing to wonder if stomach pain is food poisoning. The child is saying "ouch" because she is in pain. Give her the health care she needs. It needn't be medication initially, but it does need to be addressed. I have a long history of PMS, and it hurts every bit as much as other mental pain does. It needn't even be depression; for me sadness is usually a side-effect of anxiety (it really wears you out and makes you blue). All you need to say (and you can say it to your GP as easily as a therapist) is, "She says she's sad all the time and I'm concerned".

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,809 ✭✭✭Speedwell

    I almost missed where you asked how to respond. Sorry about that. Do what you did when she was small... make sure she is safe and warm and clean and fed and cuddled, if necessary. Just be kind and gentle and try not to take too much personally. Something may also be going on at school that she doesn't feel safe talking about. No matter what you do, make sure she understands that you're on her side and don't blame her for how she feels.

    If she says something very concerning, like she wants to do damage to herself, that is actually considered a bona fide medical emergency and you need to have her seen about immediately. Depression, whether it is a serious dysfunction or just "the blues", is treatable and recoverable from, with care. You'll be all right eventually.

  • Registered Users Posts: 399 ✭✭theLuggage

    I was at a talk recently about anxiety in children and apparently this is the age of puberty for girls and where their emotional side of their brain develops way more than the logical side. So they have all the emotions that they cannot switch off or deal with logically. We need to help them.

    Other girls at school, or friends, might be starting down the road of make up, clothes, boys etc and your girl may not be ready for this. Maybe she feels she needs to in order to fit in, but this pretending makes her feel more different. This could all lead to anxiety/sadness. Maybe chat to her and see if any of this is going on.

    The speaker I heard was Enda Murphy and he has written some books that might help? I've no affiliation and have not read the books but his talk was excellent, could have listened all day. Maybe even googling might give some tips with dealing with this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 70 ✭✭Angrybastard

    Thanks for your responses, folks.
    She seems much better the last few days.
    We've been giving loads of cuddles and reassurance.

    The kids she plays with on our road are all boys, who are good lads, but are getting a bit rough and ready with their horseplay.
    We organised her girlfriends from school to come and hang in our house over the weekend and this seems to have had a good affect on her.