Home > Kids > Children's General Health > Mental Health > Six-Year-Old Is Depressed

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Six-Year-Old Is Depressed

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My 6-year-old son, who has always been friendly, popular, and happy has been very emotional lately, over the past year. He says things like "Noboby likes me, I wish I was dead, I don't want to live here, I don't like you anymore...." I'm very concerned. He lives in a very stable two-parent home and we are concerned he's depressed. Is it normal for a 6-year-old to be so emotional?

A: It is not "normal" or healthy for a child to be this distressed for as long as you state. You say that he's been "very emotional lately," for the past year. But his emotionally overwhelmed, unhappy state has not been occurring just "lately." "Lately" means the past several weeks, not one year. Your son's death wishes, dislike of you, reports of being disliked by his peers, and wishes to move away have been going on long enough to have been considered depression some time ago. We don't want to believe that kids as young as six can be clinically depressed. But they can and do become depressed--chronically depressed--in surprisingly growing numbers.

You mention that your son has "always been friendly, popular, and happy" and appear at a loss to explain why he has undergone such dramatic personality and behavioral changes. Your son's and your own need for professional intervention and therapy is long overdue. You must discover why your little boy has become so chronically depressed (if that is the correct diagnosis) and cannot seem to resurrect himself from this dark place. Clearly, something has happened to cause these attitudinal and behavioral changes, within or outside of the family. He is not going to "snap out of it." You need a therapist's help in determining what has caused your son's continuous depressive thinking and how you may help him return to being that happy child you knew.

Please locate and interview several highly recommended child or family therapists in your area who have dealt with depression in kids this young. Select the one you feel that you and your boy would feel most comfortable seeing. Then begin the journey of restoring your boy's spirit, optimism, and sense of well being. Good luck.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks