Just a brief blog about an article I have just read in today’s Age entitled “Depression found in 15% of preschoolers”. (I have the whole article if anybody wants to read it. Email me.)
The part that I found really disturbing reads “Almost 15 per cent of preschoolers have abnormally high levels of depression and anxiety, and a difficult temperament at five months of age is the most important early warning sign, a study has found.”
Why do I find this disturbing? Because every normal, healthy baby goes through a significant growth spurt at around the 4 ½ to 5 month mark. This growth spurt encompasses intellectual, social and emotional development as well as physical growth. Their little brains switch on, and they stop acting like newborns. Just one example: they go through the first of the “separation anxiety” phases, where they recognise familiar from not familiar faces, and can be clingy and distressed as a result. In short, it is utterly normal for a 5 month old baby to be “difficult” in comparison to how they behaved before this growth spurt. It is not a sign that, down the track, you’ll have an anxious or depressed toddler!! Gosh I’m sick of reading hyped up and/or misquoted stuff like this which only serves to raise the anxiety level of the average new parent.