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Dr. Olsen
Dr. Olsen, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2336
Experience:  PsyD Psychologist
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My 10 year old daughter just told me she thinks she is different

Resolved Question:

My 10 year old daughter just told me she thinks she is "different" She doesn't like the things the other kids her age do and she still likes to play with toys. She doesn't have a "best" friend and that bothers her. What kind of advice can I give her and how can I help her?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for writing in JustAnswer.
Let me ask you a question first.
How is she doing in home and school?
Does she have a friend? Does she get along with her sibling if she has?
Please let me know by clicking on “Reply” and I will then craft my response.
Please also allow 30 min. for me to get back to you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Warm Regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She is not the best student. I had to get her a tutor last year, but then at the end of the year she got the educational improvement award. She doesn't have siblings, we have two dogs and a cat. Her dad and I are not together and haven't been since I was 3 months pregnant. He is on wife #2. I believe we do the best we can to coparent. She sees her dad every Friday to Saturday every week, so it's difficult for her to have "play dates" or have a sleep over, because she is at her dad's during those times. She does have a "friend" actually, she has several, but they don't talk on the phone, just people to hang out with at school. Also, she is one of the only white kids in a predominantly black school. She goes to Catholic school. I live in Inglewood, CA
Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,
Thank you for your response.

Your 10 year-old daughter may be feeling like she does not belong to her peers in school.
It is normal for kids of her age to play with toys developmentally.
So, you may tell her that it's ok for her to play with toys.
Regarding friend issues, she has several friends. No problem.
You may tell her that she will have a best friend later.
Indeed, it's common for children of her age to change friends often.
She also attends a predominantly black Catholic school.
So, it's normal for her to find some difference between her and her black peers.
I think she started to compare herself to her peers in the process of identity development. This is a phase. It's normal.

Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What about the fact that she fells she is "different"? I asked her how that made her feel and she said that she knows she is "different". What could "different" mean?

Expert:  Dr. Olsen replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,
Thank you for your reply.
So, you asked her what made her feel different.
She responded she knows she is different. She did not articulate it further.
You may try to ask her what makes her feel different from her peers again.
She may have a clear answer or not.
For some reason, she may not be able to say it. For example, she may not be aware of what makes her feel different. She may feel like she should not talk about her skin color comparing to her black peers subconsciously as she attends a predominantly black school.
It's common for children of her age not to be able to verbalize all her feelings and thoughts.
She may also be emotionally younger than her age.

If you are concerned about her feelings or behavior later, you may take her to a child psychotherapist in your area.
She may see a child psychotherapist specializing in play therapy weekly for 3-6 months. Child therapist may help her to explore, express and process her big feelings and thoughts about self and/or others, which in turn may help her to feel less anxious about self.

Please let me know if you have more questions or I have overlooked any. Warm regards,

Dr. Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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