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Dealing with Depression in Pre-Teens

Community Member


I have been dealing with behavioural issues with my now 11yr old daughter for a numbers of years. However for the past 2-3 years we have bene dealing with anxiety and depression. She is really angry all the time, talks to me like i'm trash, plain refuses to do things for herself like getting breakfast or putting her own clothes in the laundry. Constantly will tell me i don't love her, she should just die, i should just get rid of her, that i love her sister more than her etc etc. She is constantly fighting with friends & it's always their fault according to her, they're bullying her. I have taken her our GP in the past & we saw a Child Psychologist for a while- however she just played games, dolls & did drawing with her.

Covid lockdowns have only intensified the situation. I have been working full time & the girls staying home with my husband who is working full time from home. I have requested to only work part time (20hrs) from this week to spend more time with my daughters. However, this morning was just a huge meltdown as i attempted to help her with her school project. We both ended up in tears. I then made an appointment with the GP who is putting it down to Covid stress & want to see what some multi vitamins, exercise and creative outlets (i.e. art) will help & then when she can finally return to school if that will make things better. Then if after that if she is still having these meltdowns she will look at referral to a psychiatrist.

Please give me someone to talk to & some advice or assistance..... at My wits end!

6 Replies 6

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi there,

I am sorry this is happening.

A lot of teens go through a defiant phase and anti-parent attitudes. However, there could be an underlying cause of her problems.

I think a psychiatrist may be best. Maybe get a second opinion from another GP?

You are obviously a supportive and caring mother so that is a great thing too.

Stay strong,


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Mum of Tweens Thankyou for your post
Im so sorry your experiencing this, parenting is not easy. I Think it is important to find out why she is angry all the time, she is lashing out at you but what is she actually angry about?

Its also important not to give up on the child psychologist too soon, maybe she played with dolls for the first few sessions because she was anxious or shy to talk to someone she needed more time to feel comfortable
Perseverance is Key
You are trying your best but seem to be clashing. I also think a group session between you and your daughter with a counsellor could really help you both understand each other with the help of an external person in the room.

If you want to talk this through with a Beyond Blue counsellor, we’re on 1300 22 4636 or you can reach us on webchat. It can really help to talk things like this through. Please remember to reach out whenever you need to.
Feel free to keep sharing, other members will likely be able to relate to what you’re going through.

Community Member

Hi Mum of Tweens

I am hearing you loud and clear sister!! I have a son who displays a lot of the same tendencies as your daughter and tonight he said he wanted to kill himself. Even wanted a blue velvet coffin. He said he hated his life….how could he hate his life?? He has a great life!

I keep thinking it is something I have done wrong. That I haven’t been engaged enough as a parent, present enough in his life at the moment. I am struggling myself so it’s not hard to believe that he is also.

We too have been to psychologist with him in the past and they basically said he just needed more time with us. That there was nothing going on with him. He says we love his brother more than him, that he is useless, a failure! His negative self talk angers me so much.

I am so sorry that your daughter is struggling also. Thankyou for having the courage to tell your story. I hear you and I know exactly how you feel. You are not alone.

Hey And_She_Grew,

Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums,

Thank you for popping into this thread and giving your words of support to Mum of Tweens. 

We can hear that you're also uncertain of how to best support your child during this difficult time. If you think it would be beneficial, we'd recommend that you get in contact with Parentline. Talking to a Parentline counsellor can help you navigate difficult parenting dilemmas such as the one you've outlined. If you follow the link below it will take you to the contact numbers for Parentline in each State/Territory: https://kidshelpline.com.au/parents/issues/how-parentline-can-help-you

Thankyou Sophie M

I might just give them a call today. I’m pretty sure a lot of his troubles are from me, not that I’m a bad Mum.

I was diagnosed with PTSD when he was 6 and although I have come a long way since then, I am pretty sure some things have rubbed off on him. I just want him to be happy and perhaps that means I need to be happier too.

I didn’t know about parentline. Perhaps that’s a good place to start. Then perhaps I need to start working on me too

Muchly appreciated

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Mum of Tweens

I imagine many mums would agree with 3 or 4 being a great age. As a mum, I recall my nearly 19yo daughter and 16yo son around this age. They went with the flow, were easily entertained and just loved you and themself unconditionally. It was easy, before it got complicated.

I'm blessed to have gained insight from my daughter through the open minded non judgemental conversations we've had over the past few years. She's spoken of how painful it felt when she was younger, believing I favored her brother over her. While I'd always labelled her 'Little Miss independent', the independence I bestowed upon her as I focused on the more dependent child felt to her like neglect/disinterest. She recalls feeling anger, hurt, confusion, resentment, a lack of love etc. She's accepted my deepest and most heartfelt apology for all the times I shut her down with 'That's not true' or 'You're being ridiculous', when as a little one she expressed herself. She was being honest and her honesty was thoughtlessly dismissed. I recall the first time I really felt her pain and it led me to tears. She ended up consoling me.

Her brother was around 8 weeks old when I came out of about 15 years in depression, which gave me the freedom to form a deep loving bond with him, one I'd never felt or established with her as a baby/toddler. This was part of the problem my daughter faced, my incredible new found sense of love toward a baby/toddler. To her, it felt like blatant favoritism. I fully understand that now. For years she looked for a solid sense of identity, a sense of self worth which I'd never led her to feel when she was little.

My kids know they are 2 of my greatest teachers in life. I praise my daughter for leading me to be more reasonable. All the times she challenged me with 'Why? Why can't I do that? Why are you so mean? Why does everything have to be about him?', I never answered, I never gave reasons. Eventually she broke me and I've become more thoughtful and reasonable 🙂 She never gave up questioning me. All the times she pushed me to wonder about my questionable parenting, led me to eventually be a more wonderful open minded parent. The list goes on when it comes to how she's challenged me to evolve.

While we have a deep mutually respectful and loving relationship now, I've come to understand: How could she possibly have respected (back then) the woman who she felt with every ounce of her being did not love her.

Being a mum's a mind altering experience 🙂