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Is my 5-year-old depressed?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Everyone who meets my child comments on how kind, fun-loving, thoughtful, well-behaved and outgoing my daughter is. And when we are around other people, she IS all of those things, and more. She is incredibly intuitive and feeling. Around us though, she often seems very angry, moody, sad, and says very negative things about herself. For example, today she was taking a bath with our 2-year-old son and she started to squirt some water directly into his ear. I saw it at the last second and said "No no no!!!!" kind of panick-y. She started to try to scratch her eye with her finger because "I'm stupid". Additionally, she has a very short fuse and will often throw her toys if they don't cooperate, rip her clothing apart of she can't button it, etc. I will admit that, first of all, *I* can be like this--many people comment to me that I always seem so calm and put-together, but behind-the-scenes I tend to be disorganized and have a bit of a temper. (I *DO* work hard at both though! Gah!) Additionally, my husband and I have a pretty stressful day-to-day life--we currently "tag team parent" Mon-Fri (I am home with the kids 6am-3pm, work 3pm-10pm; he works days); we've been doing this for over 5 years, and both of our tolerance for stress is not incredibly high. What I am wondering, is if this seems like normal 5-year-old behavior? Is she just getting out all her frustrations on us so that she can go out into the world and be her usual super-star self...or could something else be going on???? Thanks in advance for any feedback!
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
This is the OP again, just thought I'd add that she's not in kindergarden this year (she just turned 5 in Jan.), and I think part of her problem is that she's really BORED. We have tried to get her involved in activities, but between her brother's afternoon nap and me working at 3pm, she spends most of her days at home with no kids her age. She is super peer-focused and I do think she might be better off with more interaction with kids (she does preschool, gymnastics, and dance during the week but from 12pm on up she is home all day with adults), but our work schedules just cannot accomodate this at all. Also, we live in MN so there is a significant lack of outside time lately. I can't imagine this NOT affecting anyone, this time of year is horrid for us Minnesotan's! :-)
post #3 of 6
Quote:

 Additionally, she has a very short fuse and will often throw her toys if they don't cooperate, rip her clothing apart of she can't button it, etc. I will admit that, first of all, *I* can be like this--many people comment to me that I always seem so calm and put-together, but behind-the-scenes I tend to be disorganized and have a bit of a temper.

Hmm.  Is she ever seeing you react this way (throwing things, etc)?  She could be similar to you genetically and just have your nature or she is mimicking your behavior (or both).  

 

She could be reacting to the stress within the house.  I know when DH and I have periods of more intense stress (due to work, etc) is probably extremely obvious to DD.  She really is watching our every move (as annoying as that is!).  

 

I recommend reading the book Simplicity Parenting.  It has some great insights as to why kids act out and how to ease their daily life to give them the peace they need.   I don't think ripping clothes if she can't button them sounds normal but I could be wrong.

 

Good luck

Jen

post #4 of 6

Does she really rip her clothes?  I don't think that sounds normal, but my DD (newly 6) will throw a toy or crumple up a paper if she gets frustrated.  When this was more prevalent, I tried to react calmly when I made a mistake and say something like, "oh well, everyone makes mistakes."  I wonder if making a show of calm reactions to stress would give her a new approach?

post #5 of 6

She may not be handling stress well.  It sounds a little like my daughter.  She can be the cutest, nicest, generous being but...

 

My DD goes to a waldorf school and they talk alot about the 6 year change, that starts around 5ish.  You might want to read up on it.  We live in AK.  And outside time is a must.  My dd goes outside everyday at school and we try to get both out for a little during the week and more on teh weekends.  Are there any neighborhood kids she can play with?  Does she take any Vit D?  My girls get 2000 when I remember.  

And the good news is that it's getting lighter and lighter.  

 

My DD just told me she was stupid, she hates herself and no one likes her.  I think she gets that from shows that she watches and then wants to see the response she gets at home. So #1, we try to cut TV time. #2 let her know that she is loved.  She is very dramatic but goes on cycles.  Kinds of like her mama!!

 

http://flowingwithmyducklings.blogspot.com/2010/12/six-year-change.html 

post #6 of 6

i think being slightly depressed around 5 or 6 is normal. they are really hard on themselves. 

 

its not real depression. its more of a struggling to figure out how to fit into society and that leads to depressing behaviour. its the beginning of discovering of self. 

 

i am one of those parents who feel being bored is a good thing. that's teh time when teh parent needs to make sure they give their child lots of opportunities - art, playdough, puzzles, markers and dry erase board, bean bowl - but the child has to figure out what they want to do. 

 

give her chores to do at home. maybe she can help you chop stuff up for dinner. or get the mail from the mailbox and sort it out for you in two piles. look for opportunities where she can help her brother. be very descriptive with the instructions so she cant mess up. it sounds like she is her own worst critic. 

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