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Doctor Blake
Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience:  Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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My 6 1/2 year old daughter has started to become very

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My 6 1/2 year old daughter has started to become very emotional over the last couple of days...she worries about me being alone and missing me when I drop her and her sisters off to school. I reassure her I am fine and that I have boring housework to do etc but it is really affecting her and Im worried. Our family consists of my husband and I and 3 daughters 5, 6 & 11.

Good morning.

Thanks for writing.

I can certainly understand your concerns. Your query prompts more questions, I'm afraid... so I hope you don't mind me asking... (please understand, there is no charge for answering additional questions):

1. Has your daughter tended toward being more emotional during her development, generally speaking? Can you cite any examples?

2. Have there been any changes at home or school? Are you coming up on vacation (winter break for you, summer for us)? How are relations among your immediate family? Any medical problems?

3. What has the school said, if anything? Some kiddos express anxiety with moms and dads in the car-ride over, but then there's no indication of any problems once they walk through the school doors. I'm wondering if this is true for your daughter or not.

Any other information you can provide would be most helpful. I'm asking only so I can try to be of assistance to you.

Thanks. Hope you and your family are well!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thankyou Dr Bowden,

My daughter is very bright and generally very cheerful...she has her normal fights with her sisters but nothing out of the ordinary.

Her teacher was very puzzled as my daughter has not been in any trouble in class in fact has received a gold star on her chart for the last couple of days for her very cheerful nature and behaviour.

Our holidays are not for another 5 weeks...

We recently moved interstate about 3 months ago, we moved back to my home was a family decision to move back with our whole family. Generally we are a happy family.

Im not sure if Im over analysing this however, my husband suffers from depression...can this be passed on to a child genetically?

Thanks for your speedy reply.

I'm glad to learn that your daughter seems well-adjusted and happy, given what you have reported. I'm also glad that these behaviors are not spilling over into the classroom. (I hope you don't mind my "behavior" without the "u." You know what lousy spellers us Yanks are. <smile>)

I'm glad to also learn that your family is, as you say, generally happy.

Given what you say, I might suggest that there *might* be some minor adjustment issues to the move. I don't know if this entailed changing schools or if moving to your hometown has precipitated some big changes in family relationships (either not seeing some friends/family as much - or suddenly seeing them a lot more). Sometimes these adjustment issues manifest in the kinds of anxiety you describe. But, by no means do I think this is worthy of therapy or further consultation. I see this as developmentally appropriate! (In fact, some of the anxiety you express might have nothing to do with adjusting to life's ups-and-downs... it might just be adjusting to being a 6 1/2 year old little girl!)

With regard to depression and "passing it along," there is research to suggest that there may be both genetic and environmental components to depression. That is, having a depressed parent may predispose children to responding to life in a "depressed" way. Some of the factors that contribute to this may be genetic - but it may also be environmental. That is, children learn how to respond to the world by watching their parents. A depressed parent responds to the world in a way that conveys certain messages - which may set a child up for depression.

Please also understand that depression is the "common cold" of the mental health field. Estimates suggest that, frankly, nearly everyone will manifest behaviors suggestive of depression at least once in their lifetime. That depression may be stress induced or more of a characterological style of responding to the world. Most people, also, resolve their depressive issues *on their own, without therapy* in roughly 6 months. Those who need more intervention respond most effectively to treatment plus medication. (See below).

I do not believe you have a budding depressive on your hand. I believe your matter-of-fact response that "mommy will be working at home today" is appropriate and honest. You might want to add that, "I'll see you this afternoon at XXX time" to help her understand that, yes, you'll be around when she gets home. I wouldn't linger too long over the conversation and, if she begins to get stuck, redirect her attention to what exciting things she'll be accomplishing in school that day.

In short, it sounds like you are a caring and loving mom who wants the best for your daughter (and all your children). You noticed some new behaviors and just wanted to check them out - but - at least from the information you've provided, I don't believe there is any cause for undue concern.

I hope this is helpful and that you and your family remain well!


Thanks. I hope you're well and that this was helpful.

* FEEDBACK ENCOURAGED. Please contact me prior to leaving negative feedback so that we can resolve the matter. I am eager to work with all JA clients to provide them with useful/helpful answers. Thanks again.


RE: Treatment for Depression (below):

Research has consistently demonstrated that treatment plus medication is more effective than medication alone or treatment alone for depression and/or anxiety. Further research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychological treatment/intervention - particularly in dealing with mood and/or disorders.

A licensed psychologist/psychotherapist with specific training in CBT modalities would be able to address your concerns. I would encourage you to find a licensed mental health professional with whom to work, employing CBT.

With regard to medical treatment, many/most physicians appear to begin with a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) to treat anxiety. Because I am not an MD, it is beyond my purview to address medication concerns, however.

Again, the mantra of years of research says: medication or treatment alone is not as effective as both working in tandem. Some research has also indicated that insight-oriented talk therapy is counter-productive with some forms of mood and/or anxiety disturbance... it actually exacerbates the condition(s). So, seek out a CBT therapist who will provide targeted, efficient, and effective therapy - not someone who signs you as a "lifer." If you're going to a therapist for years, something about the therapy isn't working.

Your psychiatrist *may* know of a CBT licensed mental health professional. Please make certain, however, that they employ CBT practices.


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