Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My Story

We often think of depression and anxiety as diseases that affect adults and teens but children can struggle with them as well.  I know because I did.  Looking back at my childhood I can see the pain started at five-years-old after two terrible traumas that ripped a little girl apart but I couldn’t express my emotions because I didn’t know how.  Children can have such a hard time verbalizing their feelings and thoughts so they may suffer in silence not realizing what’s wrong.  I was too young, shy and well behaved for others to see I was in pain.  I didn’t act out, instead turning everything inward toward myself.  It was a heavy burden to bear on my tiny little shoulders.

I struggled to sleep every night but I didn’t tell my parents because I was afraid I’d get into trouble and I couldn’t tell them about the traumas I experienced because I thought they would stop loving me.  So, I cried.  That was my way of dealing with the pain.  My tears fell so easily and too often.  I tried to hide them as much as I could but sometimes, it just wasn’t possible.  My first-grade teacher yelled at me and called me a crybaby.  She told me to stop crying so much.  She didn’t understand I couldn’t control it.  She made me feel bad and worthless, like I was too broken to matter.

As I grew older my pain worsened.  More traumas drew me deeper into that pit of torment as I struggled to stay alive.  Ruminations of past experiences mixed with a guilt and shame of what happened to me ate away at my mind and pushed me down a lonely, heart wrenching world of despair and fear.  My life was shattered and too painful to continue.  I had to find a way out.  At eight-years-old I decided to kill myself but I didn’t know what I was doing.  I tried again at nine and almost succeeded but the terror of not breathing shocked me back to the living. 

I continued to struggle like a baby trying to walk, always falling down; afraid of everything and nothing, still thinking I was worthless and hopeless; seeing the world as a dark and frightening place but the worst part of my life was just beginning.  I came home from school one day to find my mom had been put in a psychiatric hospital.  Dad took us to see her every Saturday but she didn’t know who we were or where she was.  She lived in a different realm, seeing things that weren’t there and believing things that weren’t true.  It was very difficult seeing her like that.  I cried every night not knowing if she’d ever come back to reality and back home but she did.

My mom was back in the real world but her personality had changed.  She became childish and hard to manage at times.  She couldn’t be an adult anymore.  I had to step in.  Dad was a truck driver and gone most of the time so I became mom’s main caregiver and emotional support.  It was hard but I loved her so much.  The fear of being away from her crushed me like a ton of bricks, grinding me into the ground.  I started missing a lot of school till I got to the point where I couldn’t go at all.

My separation anxiety drove us to court twice as the school system threatened to have me taken away from my parent’s.  The first judge told me to go to church but the second judge was nicer.  He sent me to be assessed by a psychiatrist.  She asked me if I was suicidal.  I answered honestly.  She asked if I had a plan.  I told her about the pills I had been saving.  She put me in the hospital right away.  The hell of being in a psych hospital and away from mom tore me apart.  I made sure I did everything I was told so I could go home as soon as possible.  I learned to tell the nurses, therapist and psychiatrist what they wanted to hear.  Finally, after two months of pure hell I went home.

Unfortunately, my depression and separation anxiety never really left me.  I continued to miss school.  The superintendent came to our house and forced mom to sign papers saying I was quitting school.  If she didn’t he would have me taken away.  Mom signed.  What else could she do?  I was relieved from the stress of school and the fear it brought but I felt embarrassed and pathetic, like I’d never amount to anything.  I was allowed to take the GED and get a diploma but it was too easy.  I felt I hadn’t accomplished anything.  I was still worthless and useless, a complete nothing. 

I continued to struggle with depression and anxiety till I was old enough to try medication.  Then my life changed.  I was happy for the first time.  I had energy and knew I could do anything.  I went to college then grad school and earned my master’s degree.  I wasn’t worthless.  I was smart and determined, a woman ready for her life to finally begin.  A child’s battle with herself can teach her many things about life, empathy and pain so she can use her past as a path to her future.  I still struggle at times.  For me it’s something I’ll always battle but that just makes me appreciate the good times even more.      

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Teen Depression

You feel your nose tingle and burn like bees swarming.  Then the clouds in your eyes open up as the tempest swirls you into the whipping whirlpool of torment and shame. 

You struggle to keep your head above water but the tears drown out any life, any hope till all that’s left is a maelstrom of anger, self-hate and despair spinning you every which way.

You see the world pass you by but all you can do is loose the damn and let the tears rage through the winding river of misery that is your life, your heart and your mind.

There is no use begging for freedom because it will never come.  You’re stuck in your own private Hell as it’s churning and turning tear you apart, crushing the hopes and dreams of a normal life; throwing you into an agony beyond description, beyond the understanding of most people.

So you sit alone, lost in your terrible world wishing for a death you know will never come, striving for a peace you know doesn’t exist but still you wait for the darkness to rip open every scar, every wound as you sink into your cruel existence; yearning for a different reality, longing to stop feeling anything but feeling is all you do.

A wish for emptiness feeds a hunger you can’t control, feeds a thirst that will never be quenched.  You are stuck, stuck in the devastation as you’re surrounded by the normal laughter and smiles of the other kids.

You sit knowing they are talking about you, laughing at you, calling you stupid because that’s what you call yourself; ugly and stupid.  Your pathetic life is on display for everyone to see. 

You wish to be invisible without realizing you already are invisible.  No one is looking at you, talking about you because no one cares.  No one sees you.  No one knows you exist. 

You suffer in silence waiting for the day you finally have the strength to end your struggle.  Will that day come?  You want it to come but you know fear and terror of death always stops you. 

You spend your life not living but dying a slow, agonizing, painful death.  No light exists, no hope endures.  Nothing is all you have.  Nothing is all you are.  To truly be nothing is all you want.  

You ache for that nothing as you waste away, slipping deeper into that pit of despair; that pit that eats you alive, devouring everything good, consuming all knowledge; leaving you bewildered, hurt and lonely, so lonely. 

If only you hadn’t been born.  If only you were somebody else.  If only the darkness didn’t exist.  What would a life without pain feel like?  Fear infests you as you wonder about the happiness other people feel.  “I’ve been alone, afraid and in pain for so long.  Could I live without them?  Could I ever be normal or would I collapse under the weight of joy?”

My mind hurts as I think about the damage depression and anxiety causes, especially to a child who is overlooked.  Just remember not all children who suffer from depression and anxiety get into trouble.  Some make good grades and never cause problems until it’s almost too late.  Talk to your kids about how they feel and what they think.  Let them know whatever they feel is OK.  Help them see the light that shines deep inside them.  Let them know there is hope, no matter what, there is hope.                   

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Symptoms of Childhood Depression

This post is about the symptoms of childhood depression. 

If you are concerned that your child is suffering from depression please take the child to a therapist, counselor or other mental health professional for assessment.  Some of the symptoms of childhood depression are normal to have every once in a while but if the child has 3 or more of these symptoms that last most of the day, nearly every day for more than 2 weeks then it could be a concern.  Now I will get started with the symptoms.

Often times children who suffer from depression can have a lot of physical problems.  Emotional distress, pain and anxiety can cause headaches, nausea, stomach pain, muscles aches and even vomiting.  A child’s stomach can feel like it’s in knots; turning and churning, always tight, always tense.  The tension in a depressed child’s body can cause a lot of the physical issues they may have.   

On a personal note, I had a lot of physical complaints and illnesses like headaches and stomachaches but I also had earaches, jaw pain and back pain.  The headaches, earaches and jaw pain were caused by the stress and strain depression puts on a child’s mind and body.  My jaw muscles were so tense all the time, I would grit and grind my teeth.  This caused pain in my head, neck and face.  My back pain was caused by the tension in my body as well but I also used it as an excuse so I wouldn’t have to go to school. 

I loved learning and still do but I sometimes wanted to stay home because of my anxiety or because I didn’t want people at school to see me cry.  Depressed children can have a hard time controlling their tears.  At times I tried to hide my crying by rubbing my eyes really hard and saying my allergies were bothering me.  I needed a reason for red, watery, puffy eyes.  It was a helpful excuse. 

Another sign to look for is sadness or irritability.  A depressed child may not seem happy or smile very often.  If they do smile it can be because they want to hide how they really feel.  A depressed child may cry a lot or cry very easily.  They may be overly sensitive to criticism, rejection, failure or even something as simple as someone raising their voice can make the child cry.  Depression in quiet, shy children may be harder to recognize because they seem to have a tendency to turn their pain inward at themselves, blaming themselves.  They’re the ones who may be more likely to hide their pain. 

A depressed child may seem very moody.  One minute they can be fine, the next minute they are crying and throwing a tantrum.  Depression in some children can come out as irritability, anger and as acting out.  They may yell, argue or fight with a parent or other child.  They may scream and throw things or do things they know they aren’t supposed to do. 

Depressed children may be very fussy and whine more than other children.  The caregiver may have a very hard time trying to sooth a depressed child.  She may try talking to the child, holding him, hugging her or maybe even yelling but nothing seems to help.  Taking care of a depressed child can be more frustrating.  If you notice you are more frustrated by a child than by other children, that could be a concern.  Just remember the child is not being difficult on purpose or to bother you, they are suffering and don’t know what’s wrong or how to express their pain.  They need a little patience, a good therapist and a lot of love

Many depressed children may appear to not enjoy life or not enjoy the things they used to be interested in.  They may not have many friends.  If they do, they may spend less time with those friends or may stop playing with friends all together.  They may not enjoy sports they once liked or they may stop playing sports.  A depressed child may have little or no interest in playing with their toys, drawing or coloring.  They may play outside less or not at all.  They may stop reading books they like or stop playing video games.  If you notice your child doesn’t seem to have any fun or enjoy anything, you may want to get the child assessed or at least look to see if he has any other symptoms.

Some symptoms are more visible than others.  A depressed child may experience weight loss or weight gain. You may notice the child is eating less or maybe less often.  The child may not be gaining the weight that is expected as she grows.  I said in my previous post that depression can cause nausea and stomach problems.  Because of this some depressed children may not want to eat.  For some children the opposite may be true. 

You may notice the child is eating more food than usual and more often.  Some children may become emotional eaters.  I have seen some parents tell their children that eating will make them feel better.  It’s not a good idea to say that to children.  That can contribute to a child becoming someone who tries to stuff down all their pain with food instead of talking about what is making them feel bad.  Also when a child is under stress their bodies may crave carbohydrates like pasta and bread. 

I know it may seem odd that weight loss or weight gain can be symptoms.  Usually people say, is it one or the other.  Children are different and depression can affect them in many different ways.  The symptoms of depression can vary from child to child.  One child might lose weight but a different child may gain weight.  Just notice if a child’s weight has changed or if they don’t seem to be thriving, which means gaining the weight they are supposed to.

A depressed child may sleep too much or not enough.  Again depression affects children differently and symptoms can vary from child to child.  One child may sleep more and a different child my sleep less. 

The child may sleep longer or more often.  He may go to bed earlier and sleep later or may nap more often.  A child who rarely took naps before may take several naps a day.  One problem you may have is you think your child is sleeping but he may just be in bed crying and thinking terrible thoughts, pretending he is asleep. 

Some depressed children may have trouble sleeping.  She may have a hard time falling asleep.  If she does fall asleep, she may wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep or the child may wake up too early and have trouble falling back to sleep.  

A child may have trouble sleeping because all the negative thoughts they have are constantly running through their mind keeping them up.  Some depressed children can’t calm their brains down enough to fall asleep or some children may not want to sleep because of bad dreams or nightmares.   

Some depressed children may be more agitated than usual.  A child may have trouble sitting still.  The child may pace the floor.  They may fiddle with their clothes or other objects.  The child may seem on edge all the time and may startle more easily.  If your child has never had ADHD but you notice these agitated behaviors, it might be a concern.  

It may take a depressed child longer to think.  It may take the child longer to answer a question.  Their brain may need extra time because they can have trouble focusing, concentrating or understanding and may need more time to figure out what you want.  They may be so overwhelmed by their inner negative thoughts that it’s hard for them to pay attention to anything else. Also, their speech may be slower.  They may speak with a softer voice or they may not speak at all. 

A depressed child may say he’s always tired or he may seem very tired most of the time.  The child may want to just sit around or lie around and do nothing.  When a child does do something they may complain it’s too tiring.  It may take more effort for a child to do things.  It may take longer for a child to do things, maybe even twice as long.  I know from experience sometimes it’s hard to just move.  Depression, especially childhood depression, is exhausting.

Childhood depression is very difficult to go through.  It truly is living in Hell.  A depressed child may think they are not good enough or that they are bad even if they never get into trouble.  They may say they are stupid or nobody likes them.  They may think everything is their fault.  Everything they think about themselves is very negative.     

Depressed children may constantly think about past failure or rejection.  They may constantly think about future failure or rejection.  They may think that they’ll never be good at anything, like there is no hope for them.  Hopelessness is the worst thing about childhood depression.  Children are supposed to feel like they can accomplish anything but depressed children may not be able to see any goodness or light in their future.     

A depressed child may also have trouble remembering things.  They may have trouble learning something new.  As I said in before, their brain may have trouble focusing, concentrating and understanding.  They may be easily distracted.  Their grades may drop.  They may have trouble at school.  They may have behavior problems or they may not participate in class or during out of class activities.  They may have trouble or be afraid of making decisions or answering questions because of low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. 

I’d like to add a note here.  If your child does well in school and makes good grades it doesn’t mean she’s not depressed.  I did really well in school, I made good grades, I never got into any kind of trouble but I suffered from depression my entire childhood.     

This will be the last symptom of childhood depression that I will talk about.  It is also the worst symptom.  A child who is depressed may think a lot about death or suicide.  They may try to kill themselves.  A depressed child may talk a lot about death or ask a lot of questions about death like, “Does it hurt?”  The child may ask a lot of questions about heaven, God and Jesus.  They may seem preoccupied with dying.  

No one wants to think a child is in so much pain that they will kill themselves but I know from my own experiences some depressed children see death as a way out of their unbearable pain, maybe the only way out.  I tried to kill myself when I was 8 then again when I was 9 but nobody ever knew.  I hid it because I didn’t want to be stopped

I hope this explanation of symptoms of childhood depression is helpful.  Thanks so much

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Neglectful Parenting and Childhood Depression

Neglectful parenting can be caused by many issues.  The parent may have a severe psychiatric disorder, a severe personality disorder, they may struggle with addiction or they may not know how to parent because they were neglected as children.  They may not know how a loving, caring, supportive parent is supposed to act or some may not care. 

Neglectful parents can be neglectful in different ways.  Some may not provide for their child’s basic needs.  Their children may not have enough to eat and they may not know how to wash, bathe or clean themselves.  Very young children who are neglected may not even be potty trained by the time they start school.  The child’s physical needs are neglected but their emotional needs are as well and that can be even worse. 

Children need to be loved.  They need to know they are loved.  They need a lot of positive interactions with adults so they can learn about and develop proper attachments.  Without these very early positive attachments a child may never be able to feel close to anyone or may never feel positive about anyone.  They may learn at a very early age that they are on their own. 

Neglectful parents can be emotionally distant and show little if any warmth, love or affection.  Neglected children may not care about others because they feel no one cares about them.  Neglected children often feel angry, unhappy and unloved.  They may not even understand what love is. 

Neglected children often have no coping skills or emotion regulation skills.  They may not know how to deal with or control all their negative emotions.  They can become overwhelmed by their emotions and act out by yelling, screaming, fighting or arguing. 

These children usually have terrible social skills because they don’t know how to act or interact with others.  They may not know how to share, how to be nice or how to make friends in an appropriate way.  They may feel that no one likes them or wants to be friends.  They may not understand you have to be friendly in order to make friends.  Many don’t know how to be friendly. 

These children can learn that it’s better, safer and easier to be alone.  If you’re alone no one can hurt you and these children are often very emotionally hurt.  Neglected children often feel fear, anxiety, anger and terrible sadness because they have so little support in their lives. 

Neglectful parents tend to have few rules, no expectations and place few demands on their children.  Many of the children have to raise themselves.  Neglected children can have a hard time understanding right from wrong or why something is wrong.  They may not understand how to behave or what is acceptable behavior. 

These children often have many behavior problems, low self-esteem and no self-confidence.  Many have no one in their lives to tell them they are good and smart or that they can achieve anything.  Many of these children do poorly in school.  They may have developmental delays or cognitive deficits.  They may not be at the same grade level as the other children their age.  They can be several grades behind.  Malnutrition and a lack of intellectual stimulation and emotional interactions can cause a delay in brain development.  They usually have no one to read to them or teach them colors, their alphabet or how to count.  A child can’t learn without someone to teach them.

These children, like their parents, often lack empathy and remorse.  They can be very selfish, self-centered and self-involved, just like their parents.  These children need a lot of help and many will continue to need help for the rest of their lives. They tend to be emotionally unstable, angry and very depressed.  With help they can improve but they need a lot of understanding and support to help give them hope for the future. 

Therapists and teachers are very important to these children because they can be the only ones who will help them.  If you know or work with a difficult child just remember it’s not entirely their fault.  It takes a lot of neglect and poor parenting to cause a child to be a behavior problem.  Most of these children have an issue or issues with dysthymia and depression.  They are more likely to externalize their depression because they can’t control themselves, their anger or their pain.  They are frustrating to work with but who can turn their back on a child in need and these children are in desperate need.              

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Overly Strict Parenting and Childhood Depression

This post will be about how overly strict, punitive parenting can cause a child to have many issues and how it can contribute to childhood depression.   

The problem with overly strict parenting is they use punishment instead of consequences.  Overly strict parents tend to make very strict rules that they expect their children to follow all of the time without question and if the child misbehaves the child is often punished too harshly. 

Overly strict parents rarely give any reasons for the rules.  They don’t explain why something is wrong or why the child shouldn’t do something.  They often say, “Because I said so”.  Every child has heard, because I said so, at least once but overly strict parents seem to say it all the time. 

Overly strict parents provide for their child’s basic needs but tend to be emotionally distant and show little warmth or affection.  They may not provide the unconditional love and nurturing their children need. 

Without love, warmth, affection, praise and kindness a child can feel unloved, lonely, like he’s bad and they often feel very sad.  They can feel hopeless because there is nothing they can do to stop their parent’s strict rules. 

These children can have poor coping skills and may need a lot of therapy.  They tend to be very unhappy.  They may feel like there is no one there for them to talk too, to help them, to listen to them or care about them.  Sometimes the only positive person in a child’s life is their therapist. 

These children may learn to keep all their emotions inside, stuffing them deep down, trying to hide them.  Hiding sadness and pain only makes them worse.  These children can often feel an underlying resentment and anger which could eventually come out as aggression but usually not toward their parent. 

Children of overly strict parents may have trouble making decisions because they’re rarely given any choices.  Children need choices so they can learn to weigh their options and decide which is best, to learn how to make decisions. 

These children can also have trouble developing age appropriate problem solving skills.  Since they are constantly told what to do, they aren’t allowed to figure things out on their own.  They aren’t encouraged to explore their world, learn new things or how to take safe risks with a parent’s loving and nurturing guidance. 

These children can feel fearful of the world, anxious and shy.  They can become overly dependent and may not develop self-discipline because they are constantly told what to do and are rarely allowed to overcome obstacles or challenges on their own. 

Children of overly strict parents can have very low self-esteem, thinking they can’t do anything right or thinking everything they do is bad.  They can have very poor social skills because they may never be taught how to act in social situations or how to interact with others.  They may not even be allowed to interact with others. 

When the child is interacting with others, he may feel uneasy and unsure of himself.  He may be afraid of doing or saying something wrong, stupid or bad.  He may have little self-confidence and may think he’s not good enough. 

Children of overly strict parents tend to be obedient, they follow the rules and may do well in school but they may feel if they don’t succeed or do what they are told their parents won’t accept them or love them.  Every child wants to be loved.  These children may seem to do well but they may not feel any happiness, joy or hope in their success. 

All the things I just wrote about can contribute along with other factors to depression and anxiety.  These children may be more likely to internalize their depression and hide their pain which only makes them worse but with therapy there is hope.    

In my next post I will talk about how the worst parenting type of all and how it can affect childhood depression.                                      

Monday, February 8, 2016

Childhood Depression and Overly Permissive Parenting

A quick post on overly permissive parenting.  Some parents care more about being their child’s friend than being a parent but that’s a bad idea.  Friends let kids get away with things that can affect a child in negative ways like allowing children to watch TV, play video games or use the computer whenever they want for as long as they want instead of doing homework or studying, causing problems at school.    

Children of overly permissive parents are more likely to talk back to their parents and other adults including teachers.  These children would rather do what they want and not what they are supposed to do.  This contributes to more problems at school.   

Parents who are overly permissive tend to set few limits and boundaries.  Children need limits and boundaries in order to feel secure and safe and in order for them to learn what’s OK and not OK.  Children need to be taught right from wrong.  Also without limits and boundaries children can’t learn appropriate social skills like sharing and they may not care what other children want to do or play. 

These children can be very selfish and demanding, wanting their way all the time.  They have little self-control over themselves and their emotions.  They usually don’t know how to deal with their emotions when they get upset and they tend to be more emotionally reactive and less able to understand or control their emotions. 

Overly permissive parents often place few demands or expectations on their children.  Without demands and expectations; a child can’t learn, grow and mature.  They won’t be challenged to do better at school, at home or in life.  They’ll only do what they need to in order to get by. 

These children can’t achieve their true potential.  They lack self-discipline.  They tend to do poorly in school and make poor grades.  The problem is that they don’t know how to do well or make good grades or control themselves because their parents haven’t taught them how to work hard or how to set and achieve academic or emotional goals.    

Overly permissive parents tend to have few rules and the rules they do have are very inconsistent.  This can also cause a lot of problems in school.  Children get into trouble because they aren’t used to following rules.  They do what they want and not what the teachers says. 

These children often have problems with teachers because they enforce the rules.  They may think they are being picked on by the teachers.  This can cause a lot of anger and self-pity and sadness.  Children of permissive parents may have a lot of issues with authority and authority figures.    

The big problem with permissive parents is they don’t discipline their children.  They only intervene when things get serious.  One of the best treatments for childhood behavior problems is parent training because many permissive parents don’t know how to discipline their children.  Instead they tend to bribe their children with candy or toys to get them to behave.  This can teach a child if they misbehave they’ll get a treat which is the opposite of what you want to teach them.  Children need to learn to be good because it is the right thing to do not because they’ll get something.    

Children need consistent rules, discipline and consequences so they can learn right from wrong and why things are wrong, so they can learn appropriate behavior and so they can learn if they do something wrong, they will be punished for it.  Most teachers, school officials and police aren’t going to let a child get away with bad behavior.

Children of overly permissive parents often have low self-esteem and tend to be very unhappy.  They are more likely to engage in underage drinking, drug use or other risky behaviors.  These children are also at a greater risk of developing depression because they don’t know how to deal with their own insecurities and unhappiness.  These children may be more likely to externalize their depression.  It can come out as anger, irritability, hopelessness and behavior problems.   

Many types of parenting can contribute to children’s issues like depression and anxiety.  I’ll talk about overly strict parenting next time.                    

Friday, January 29, 2016

Childhood Depression and Overprotective Parenting

This brief, quick post will start my posts on how a child’s environment can affect childhood depression.  A child’s environment; especially the relationship, attachment and experiences a child has with their parent or primary caregiver can affect how a child sees themselves, other people and the world.

Many parents try but they can’t protect their children from life.  Life happens and an overprotective environment can cause more stress than it prevents.  Overprotective parents love and nurture their children but those parents may let their own fear take over.

Children need guidance to help them learn how to deal with stress, to grow and mature but if that guidance makes them feel like they can’t do anything on their own or help them have a certain level of independence then that guidance can contribute to issues like depression and anxiety.

Some parents have a hard time letting go.  They don’t feel comfortable letting their children explore the world or make mistakes but that’s a problem because children learn from their experiences outside the home and they learn from their failures and mistakes. 

Some overprotective parents are so afraid their child will suffer if they fail or make mistakes that they won’t let the child try anything new.  If a child isn’t allowed to play sports or to go to activities where they can learn social skills, the child can become socially awkward. They also won’t get to experience what it’s like to be on a team, what it’s like to loose and how to deal with loss but most of all they won’t learn how to deal with the stress that new experiences can bring.

Parents don’t want to see kids struggle but it’s not healthy for parents to shelter and do things for their children.  Parents need to let children learn how to handle some situations on their own.  If a parent always shelters and helps a child, the child learns to always look for help instead of trying to figure things out for themselves. 

Overprotective parents can make a child feel afraid of the world and inadequate, like their parents don’t trust them and maybe they shouldn’t trust themselves, like they’re not able to do a good enough job on their own and that they’ll always need help and like they can’t do anything without their parents.  An overprotected child is often left with low self-esteem and no self-confidence. 

We all gain confidence and self-esteem by overcoming challenges on our own.  Without those challenges a child has no opportunity to learn, mature and grow.  The child may become afraid of new things, afraid of failure, afraid he can’t succeed without help and afraid to experience life.  A life of fear is not much of a life.  It can be hard for an overprotected child to learn how to deal with their fear and emotions. 

Low self-esteem, no self-confidence and fear can contribute to depression and anxiety.  Not every child with overprotective parents will have problems but many do.  Overprotective parenting may be one factor of many that can lead to depression but understanding a child’s environment and experiences can help therapist understand the child and her issues better. 

Many overprotected children internalize their pain.  They turn everything inward onto themselves.  They may be more likely to hide their pain and that’s important for a therapist to know but overprotective parenting isn’t the only type of parenting that can cause issues.  I’ll talk about overly lenient and permissive parenting next time.