Dear Counsellor: My 10-year-old is depressed
Q: I have a 10-year-old daughter and the doctor says that she is depressed. She is doing very well in primary school. She is well behaved and the teachers like her. She also gets on well with her peers. She enjoys sports and watches TV a lot. I have to work six days a week and long hours in order to make two ends meet. Her father is not active in her life. He does not help financially or in any way. I am a single mother and sometimes I have to leave her with a neighbour. She does not like that, but I cannot do any better. I took her to the doctor and she was said to be depressed and given tablets. However, the reaction to the tablets has not been good. I am not sure what is wrong with her. Sometimes she looks sad, but most times, she seems okay.
A: It is unusual for a child so young to be depressed. Since she is enjoying school and doing well at school, then it could be something wrong in the home environment. You should try again to engage her father to be involved in her development. You should tell him the problem his child is having and ask him to help. If that fails, you might want to take him to the Family Court.
Since your child does not like being left with the neighbour, then you should stop it. Try and get a relative to stay with her. Furthermore, you should explore whether your child can stay with you after she has left school once your employer agrees.
You need to revisit your doctor immediately and tell the doctor about the adverse reaction to the tablets. It is possible that your daughter was molested or is being molested. You should seek to gain her trust or ask her guidance counsellor at school to help determine whether she has been molested or is being molested. Something is not adding up, so you have to explore all possibilities.