To say a child is a small skin bag full of emotions is an understatement. It seems like their over-the-top emotional reactions can be triggered in an instant and without warning. Whether it's a toddler throwing a tantrum, or a pre-teen on the hormonal rollercoaster that is puberty, it can be difficult to tell if your child's emotions are typical for their developmental stage, or a sign of something more serious. In fact, there are moments when you should pay attention to your kid's sadness, because if it's ignored entirely that seemingly innocuous sadness could progress into something more.
My two kids seem to be on the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. My 5-year-old son tends to be more reserved, sans the occasional spontaneous tantrum, while my 10-year-old daughter wears her feelings very clearly on her metaphorical sleeve. The emotional distance my son keeps is much more my style, which explains why it's sometimes harder to deal with, or relate to, my daughter. And while I'm not knocking the way she manages her emotions, especially since she's on the cusp of puberty, I must admit that I don't always know when her sadness is an indication of something more.
Having a history of depression myself, you'd think it'd be easy for me to spot the signs and symptoms. On the contrary. At times, I'm so clouded by my own perception of sadness, it's hard to differentiate the severity of sadness in others without asking them directly. Sometimes I can be overly sensitive to my daughter's tears when all she needs is to vent, and other times I might assume she's just throwing a fit after not getting her way and, as a result, appear cold.
So with that in mind, and because it doesn't hurt to remain vigilant when it comes to your child's emotional and mental health, here are some times you should definitely pay attention to your kid's sadness: