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Helping My Depressed Daughter Fit In

Question:

My daughter has been having a difficult time fitting in this year. She says that she initiates conversations, and she is either ignored, told to shut up or just looked at like she’s from another planet. I don’t know what I can do to help her. I have spoken with the school counselor, but nothing has changed. Each passing day it gets worse, and my daughter is becoming severely depressed. She doesn’t want to go to school in the mornings, and she locks herself in her room at night and on the weekends. She is a kind-hearted little girl who loves life and everything in it, but I can see the joy draining from her daily.

Answer:

Thank you for reaching out for help for your daughter. It is difficult to watch our children be unsuccessful at anything, whether it is academic, athletic or social. You did not share the age of your daughter, which makes it somewhat difficult for us to make age-appropriate suggestions.

Without going into other symptoms of depression, you have enough valid concerns to make an appointment to have her evaluated and begin counseling. We would also encourage you to do some things right away besides making that call for an appointment.

First, identify what your daughter is good at and what her interests are. Find a way to promote those interests and help her get more involved in them. Go to the library and check out books on the topic of interest. Find activities or events where others who have similar interests gather to share ideas or enjoyment of their hobby.

Without being too forceful, invite her out of her room in the evenings to share some time with you. Talk about weekend plans and what you can do as a family. Do not allow her withdrawal to continue. Some private time is OK, but all evening or all weekend is not emotionally healthy.
 

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