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I think DD age 7 may be depressed?

(9 Posts)
igetmorelovefromthecat Sat 13-Aug-11 22:35:25

My DD turned 7 in July and recently I have been worried that she is depressed. She never wants to go anywhere or do anything, if I do manage to drag her out she just wants to come home again. Even things that other kids would find really exciting, for instance my mum bought her a pony a couple of weeks ago, have received a very lukewarm response from her. I ask her if she feels sad and she says she does, but she says she doesn't know why.

IMO, she could be down about the following things:

1) She has a baby sister who just turned one and who takes up most of my time as she is a full-on little menace, whereas DD1 is very laid back and old enough to entertain herself so she does tend to get a bit 'forgotten' about. I am aware of this and feel really bad about it but it's just the way things seem to go at the moment (I am a single parent).

2) She is very anxious about starting Year 3, I think the school have told them it will be a lot harder than infants, also she loved her previous teacher who she had for 2 years in a row and really didn't want to get a new teacher.

3) My DD2's dad left us in April, who DD1 absolutely loved. He comes back and stays here so that he can see DD2 at irregular intervals, which is probably very confusing for DD1. It's a very long story as to why he comes back here but basically it's the only option at the moment if he is to have any contact with DD2 as he is not in a good position to be able to have her by himself and also I feel that she is too young to be going away from me for however long at a time.

4) She has an ongoing medical issue which she has been seeing a consultant about for the last 18 months. It's to do with urine infections/irritable bladder and means she has small leaky accidents a lot but her wee has a really strong smell of fish and means that she often needs changing 2 or 3 times a day at school which is embarrassing for her. The other kids do not tease her at the moment but I think it's just a matter of time before they do.

These are just my theories about why she is unsettled as she won't tell me. I feel like a really crap mum as I am aware that she does not get as much attention as DD2, and on the rare occasions we do get some time together to do something I am really rubbish at thinking of things to do together. If anyone can suggest some fun activities to do with 7 year olds I would be really grateful as I appear to have a bit of a mental block there. It doesn't help that she is so unenthusiastic about everything and anything. She is such a sweet little thing but I do worry about her feeling so sad and I just don't know what to do to help her snap out of it. I am rushed off my feet looking after the DDs and running a home and a business by myself, as well as looking after the pets, so I don't have much time or energy for much else right now. I ask her what would make her happy but she just looks at me blankly and says she doesn't know.

dikkertjedap Sat 13-Aug-11 22:45:03

That is so sad for you all. I would try to set aside 1 hour a day to have quality time with dd, if necessary babysister might have to go in a playpen and learn to amuse herself (first maybe in 10-15 minute intervals and building that up} or spend quality time with dd when babysister is asleep in afternoon. Maybe you can do arts and crafts together {making a mosaic, painting, painting pottery, making jewelry} or doing a game or puzzles or playing with dolls together. It is the doing things together which hopefully helps her to open up. Clearly little sister is important, but she shouldn't take over your whole life, similarly for work. However, it must be really tough for you. Alternatively, see if you can have a babysitter for little sister an afternoon once a week or once every two weeks so you can go away and doing something with your older dd - with the pony, going to a film or museum etc. Good luck.

brehon Sat 13-Aug-11 22:45:08

Sounds like she's had alot to deal with in the last few months. Young kids can't always find the words to express themselves. Have you spoken to your GP? Would it be worth speaking to the school, they may have a counselling/mentoring service in your LEA.

When it's just you and her, if she doesn't want to go out, how about trying something you could do together like cardmaking or scrapbooking? You never know she might inadvertently open up a little more to you while you work together. It also has a calming effect so you might benefit as well. Good luck.

hester Sat 13-Aug-11 22:46:54

Honestly? If I'm understanding what you're saying, it sounds like it may have gone a bit beyond trying to find fun activities for her. That's quite a lot going on for a little girl and I would be considering asking for a referral to CAMHS. They are not just for very serious mental health problems, they should have a primary tier of intervention that would include things like counselling and play therapy. They can also give you good advice on how to help her.

I was a depressed child and I really, really feel for your dd, and for you. Hope you find a way forward.

igetmorelovefromthecat Sat 13-Aug-11 22:54:52

Thanks for your replies, I think doing more crafty stuff with her would be a good thing as she would love it. I am a bit crap at sitting down and actually doing that kind of thing with her but I need to give it a go. Literally the only time I get to crack on with getting the housework done/running my business is when the baby is asleep so DD2 doesn't really get a look in there, but I need to change that. It is impossible to get involved in any kind of activity with DD1 when DD2 is awake as she is into everything.

I appreciate your opinion Hester and I have thought about going to have a word with the GP. I was depressed as a child too, though I was a bit older, about 10 onwards I think. And I remember feeling detached from my mum and unable to talk to her because although she cared for us she never seemed to have any time for me just to do things on a one to one level and have fun together. It seems like history is repeating itself and that panics me but I just don't know what to do to stop it.

igetmorelovefromthecat Sat 13-Aug-11 22:55:23

Sorry I meant DD1 doesn't get a look in not DD2.

dikkertjedap Sat 13-Aug-11 23:54:03

Also, it is often said that exercise is really good if people feel depressed. Can you get her to join some sport club after school? Or even better can you go running with her or join a gym together (maybe with dd2 sleeping in pushchair or dd2 in gym's creche (some gyms/swimming pools have creches).

You can buy nice arts and craft projects which are not too expensive and very good for beginners at Hobbycraft (also online if you don't have one close to you).

Try to really do things together and even if you at first don't enjoy it pretend that you do for your dd1's sake.

Good luck.

igetmorelovefromthecat Sun 14-Aug-11 00:24:50

You are right about needing to do more exercise...she has never been one for physical activity and I have to drag her/bribe her to come and walk the dogs with me. But she has recently got a maxi micro scooter which she loves so I need to get her out and about on that more. Before I read your post I had just bought a couple of parenting books, the older kids version of Toddler Taming, and one called Playful Parenting - from the reviews they sound like they might be helpful. I also bought a mosaic making kit which looks fun and that's something we can sit down and do together when DD2 is in bed. I also remembered she has a massive box of Hama beads so we could that together, I think she would enjoy that. There are some great kits etc on Hobbycraft, thanks for suggesting that, I will certainly be ordering something from there in the near future. It's not that I don't enjoy doing stuff with her, I really do, but I just have a weird inertia about starting any activity with her as I am so emotionally drained at the moment myself.

DumSpiroSpero Sun 14-Aug-11 06:49:21

Don't have much of use to add but wanted to wish you well - am struggling with my own 7yo DD at the moment, for different reasons, so you have my sympathy.

Just on the crafting note - Yellow Moon are great as they do little kits which are pretty inexpensive and have everything you need to make something in one little set. I order with a friend about once a year as we just have one girl each and we split the packs and costs.

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