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Why is my daughter still playing with her dolls?

Published:Monday | February 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Dr. Orlean Brown-Earle

I find that my 14-year-old daughter is still fascinated with dolls. She is on the Internet looking at dolls and designing clothes for them. She is doing her schoolwork, but it is only average. Her GSAT scores were just average and I think she has the potential to do much better schoolwork. She also draws a lot and the pictures are good.

Your daughter sounds as if she has artistic skills which may be guided into a great career. Encourage her to take art classes and develop her artistic skills. There are many careers in the field of art that she can choose. A psychologist could guide her in choosing a profession in the field of art if that is what she desires. Remember, she is still young and her interest can change. It will be important for her to do as well as she can in school, as a good knowledge of the academics will help in whatever profession she chooses.

Yesterday, I was at my desk and a man who I have not seen for years came in and said, "You still at this desk? It's time you move up!" I felt ashamed and when I thought about it, all my colleagues who came in with me many years ago have either moved up or gone on to greater things. I am a single parent of a daughter and she is now in college, but I don't know what to do. I also need to earn more to help my pension.

Many times we stay in one job because there are limited opportunities, or it is convenient, or comfortable. It may be that as a single parent it was convenient for you to be in that particular job at that particular location. What are the things that you like to do? If you wish to go to college, it would be good for you to complete a career test which would help you to determine what area would best suit your talents. It may not be necessary for you to go to college as, at this stage of your life, you may wish to invest in a hobby that can be financially rewarding. Sit down with a psychologist and review your personal interests and see what you can do.

How can we encourage the public to be more sensitive to persons who have physical disabilities? My son is 10 and uses a walker, and I find that the children at his school are nicer to him than adults in the public. They play with him and treat him respectfully, for the most part . He is bright and does well in school, but persons will pity him and make sad comments about his inability to walk upright, in front of him, from time to time.

It is wonderful that the children at his school are now sensitised to the needs of children with disabilities. Education will help people to be more sensitive. You can start by sharing at the next PTA meeting some information about the abilities and disability that your child presents with. Then, you can share similar information with your church and community group. It is only by educating our family members, friends and neighbours that we will get rid of the stigma that is associated with disabilities.

Orlean Brown-Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown-Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston.