My 19-year old is depressed and anxious

Parent QuestionI’m looking for advice for my own son who is 19 and in his first year in college. He has been on anti-anxiety medication for 18 months and earlier this year he had a type of breakdown (was suicidal, experienced hallucinations) and the GP put him on medication for depression and anxiety. Over the … Continue reading My 19-year old is depressed and anxious

How can I help my unhappy 15 year old daughter?

Parent Question: I am struggling with my 15-year-old daughter at the moment. She started dieting last autumn and coming up to Christmas she lost a lot of weight. She was extremely thin, spoke about food all the time, and we were very worried about her. She then fell off that “healthy eating wagon” and went … Continue reading How can I help my unhappy 15 year old daughter?

Building Self-Esteem in Children

Read John Sharry’s six-part series, originally published in The Irish Times on how you can help promote positive self-esteem, confidence and emotional wellbeing in children and teenagers. Click on the links below to read each article: Part 1: Building your child’s self-esteem Part 2: Love your children uniquely, not just equally Part 3: Helping your … Continue reading Building Self-Esteem in Children

Our daughter is struggling since the death of a classmate

QUESTION Six months ago my daughter, who has just turned 16, had to cope with the death of a girl in her class who died after a short battle with a serious illness. Our daughter was not particularly close to the girl but, as you can imagine, she was still very upset as were the … Continue reading Our daughter is struggling since the death of a classmate

Our teenager seems down in the dumps and withdrawn

QUESTION My 15-year-old daughter seems to be unhappy all the time, and my wife and I are worried about her. She seems down in the dumps and spends a lot of her time just moping around the house. This is something that has been slowly building over the past 12 months or so. She seems … Continue reading Our teenager seems down in the dumps and withdrawn

How can I bond with my son? We are always fighting.

QUESTION I seem to be fighting constantly with my four-year-old son. He is demanding and whingy, and I end up shouting all the time. I know a lot of it is my fault, because I don’t think I really bonded with him. I was depressed when he was born and then again two years later … Continue reading How can I bond with my son? We are always fighting.

I can’t love anyone, not even my baby

QUESTION I have just become a father and am finding it hard to feel much for my four-month-old daughter. I am very fond of her, but I don’t feel anything profound towards her. I feel pretty bad about it all and very guilty. Basically, I don’t think I can form emotional attachments. I’ve tried to … Continue reading I can’t love anyone, not even my baby

How do I explain my wife’s depression to the children?

Q. My wife has always suffered on and off from depression. This would often get worse when our children were born ( two boys and a girl, aged 8,6 and 5) but in recent years she has been coping well. We have supportive extended family on both sides and she works part-time. She has been on medication for the last six years and this has seemed to help her and she has been the full -time carer of the children in the home.

With a family history of anxiety and depression, I worry about my 4 year old

Q: I am writing to you in connection with my 4½ year old daughter. She is a lovely, caring, intelligent girl who is also great fun. However, I am worried about her. She has recently become very sensitive and can seem down in herself. For example, she often makes genuinely funny jokes and clever observations. If … Continue reading With a family history of anxiety and depression, I worry about my 4 year old

New dad: I’m struggling to cope

QUESTION: My wife and I have a baby boy, who is four months old, and I am struggling to cope. I’m under pressure at work and there is pressure at home, minding the baby. My wife, understandably, is consumed by minding our son and is frustrated with me for not helping out more. I feel guilty … Continue reading New dad: I’m struggling to cope

How do I help my broken hearted son?

QUESTION: My son was going out with a girl for the past two years, since he was 15. They broke up a couple of months ago and, at the time, my husband and I were relieved as we thought it was becoming a little intense and distracting him from his studies. However, it has hit him hard … Continue reading How do I help my broken hearted son?

I worry about spiralling back into depression

Q. I am a mother to two children aged three and seven months. They are lovely children but I am finding it hard to cope. The long days get to me and I find myself at 9am, having been up for three hours already, wondering how I am going to get through the rest of the day. My husband is supportive, though he is under great pressure in his work and can only do so much. I did suffer from depression on the birth of my first child, but this time I thought things were going better.

Building children’s self esteem and confidence

‘Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.’  -Sigmund Freud                                           

How should I discuss suicide with my children?

Q. The many suicides of young people in the media have made me really worried as a parent. I have two teenagers – a boy of 14 and a girl who is just 16. As far as I know they are doing well, with the usual ups and downs of the teenage years. But sometimes I worry if I could be missing something. How could I tell if they were in distress or even suicidal? I don’t want to be morbid but you read in the newspapers how frequently the suicide came out of the blue and the parents never suspected a thing.

Secondary Infertility: Trying to conceive a second baby is causing strain

Q: I am a mother of a beautiful two-year-old daughter, who will be three in a month, and though I would dearly love another baby, I am having trouble conceiving. My husband and I always imagined having a family of three or more children and I particularly wanted to have my children close together. I am … Continue reading Secondary Infertility: Trying to conceive a second baby is causing strain

Post Natal Depression: Tips for new fathers dealing with depression

TWO LARGE studies published in the US and Australia have shown that up to 10 per cent of fathers experience depression on the arrival of a new baby. This is twice the normal rate of depression for men at other times and similar to the rates of depression for mothers, suggesting men also experience some form of postnatal depression.

The study authors argue for this to be more widely recognised and for specific supports to be offered to new fathers as well as to mothers.

My teenager is depressed. How can we help him?

Q. I would like to ask for your help or advice in relation to a major problem that we have with our youngest child. He is just 15 and due to sit his Junior Cert this June. He is a quiet child by nature and never had a lot, if any, self- confidence, no matter how well he excelled at anything. In the past year or so he has lost all interest in sport, does no homework, has no close friends, and seems to have withdrawn into himself and I would say has become mildly depressed . . .

How to bond with a ‘difficult’ negative child?

Q. I have three children, aged 12, 10 and six, and my problem is the youngest. He stresses me out in the way the other two never did. He whines and moans all day and is negative about everything. It can become a battle to get him to do the slightest thing. Every morning I find myself dreading what mood he might be in. When he is a bad one, he can make it a terrible day for all of us.

16 year old is very withdrawn and aggressive towards his mum

Q. I am writing to you because I am very concerned about my 16-year-old nephew who seems to have completely withdrawn from the world. His mother is a single parent and is really struggling with him. He spends the whole day in his room playing video games and does not go out or seem to have any friends. He sleeps funny hours and can be up most of the night in his room or watching TV downstairs and then sleeps for hours during the day. In the last school term he missed loads of days at school and seems to have effectively dropped out.