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Adult Daughter Is Depressed
Q: My daughter is overseas (her husband is in the military) and she has periods of depression. She has told me that she would really like to find a close friend to confide in but has not been able to. She is involved in her children's activities, such as dance group and gymnastics. She feels that the other mothers only tolerate her because she does so much for the groups, but they don't socialize with her outside of it. They socialize among themselves outside the group. What can I tell her to help her feel better about herself?
A: It would appear that your daughter has a poor self-concept of herself as an adult, apart from her role as a mother. She is also making assumptions about these other mothers regarding their tolerance of her. I would suggest she find an activity she enjoys that does not deal with her children or her role as a mother, an activity that allows her to be known for the bright, sensitive and friendly woman she is. This activity could range from being a member of a book club to being a volunteer for a charitable organization.
She is probably experiencing both the feeling of being a stranger in a foreign land and not fitting in with this particular group of women. If her depressive feelings turn from occasional bouts to everyday occurrences, I suggest she seek out a compassionate therapist who can help her cope with and triumph over her feelings of inadequacy and isolation.
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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.