Depressed toddler?

by Natalie

I have what I think to be a an extremely smart child. He has developed right on schedule but in most cases before schedule. He has always been hyper, and can zoom right past most.


But... he has a side that is not that glamorous. He doesn’t sleep well for a three year old (four in September). He wakes up wanting to eat or watch a movie after about 5 to 6 hours of sleep. He cries out at night with as he says, "bad dreams". He has had these bad dreams for years now. But I never thought much about it.

He started not minding, but what child doesn't? It became too much though, non-stop arguing about everything. Then the fights... punching and kicking, not just me, his brother, his aunt, cousins. He brings fights on with other children, he seems to do it on purpose. He gets so mad and angry that we have been through a number of toys boxes because they got kicked across the room. He has cut my bed comforter.

My turning point... he took a toy gun and held it to his brother head and said.." Die (brothers name). Die!" he was serious. That scared me and he is now in therapy for behaviors.

But lately... he has asked if I would kill him because he doesn't want to live anymore. I don't know how much he knows. Does he really know what he is saying?
He sleeps in so much in the morning which is so weird for him. He has really happy times though. It seems to be a little more then behaviors to me.

Should I get him tested and for what? Depression (In the family), Bipolar (In the family), Anxiety (In the family)?

Hi Natlie

There really isn't a test for depression or bipolar or anxiety. If your child is seeing a therapist, they should be able to diagnosis him with those things. Of course, bipolar is more difficult to diagnosis, as you know especially in toddlers because the illness looks so different.


It may be important to talk your therapist about what they see and what they are treating your child for. If you need further clarification, you could ask a local professional to do a psychological evaluation in the form of a written report.

I can tell you for certain in my experience, children who are depressed do frequently express suicidal ideation. I always take this seriously and consider this something to pay attention to.



This website does not provide specific medical advice but is meant to help visitors better understand mental health and disorders. This site is not meant to provide specific medical advice. Please consult with a qualified mental health or health care provider for diagnosis and for answers about medical treatment.

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