My nine-year-old daughter has always been a sensitive child but lately she has become an overly emotional child. Almost anything that is said to her now is followed by floods of tears and sometimes angry outbursts.

There are a myriad reasons why children respond in this overly emotional manner and it’s sometimes tricky for parents to pinpoint the source. Keeping a diary for a while and noting down exactly when these outbursts occur and what provokes them can help you to identify patterns and triggers. Finding out how things are going at school, how things are going in her friendship groups and finding out whether anything has happened to unsettle her is going to be important when getting to the bottom of what’s going on. The temptation is often to try and talk in the throes of confrontation or when she’s crying – avoid this as it’s not the best time. Instead chat to her when she’s calm and seems relaxed. Once you’ve discovered the feelings behind what triggers the tears, help her to plan new responses. Teach her how to stay calm and give her a strategy to cope with potential upsets that you can foresee might happen.

I am worried my life is not going in the right direction. Even though I understand I have a better life than most people, in comparison everyone else seems to be having amazing lives as is evident from their posts on social media. I feel I am missing out on good things and this makes me unhappy.

Your problem highlights a growing issue for many; the sense of despair that social comparison creates in so many people these days. We are bombarded with images that other people want to project of themselves. Invariably, we are subjected to pictures of their amazing social lives, their perfect children, their wonderfully toned bodies clad in the latest designer clothing or their perfect homes. But the reality is – most people’s lives are not perfect. We feel your lack of self-esteem is being compounded by your exposure to social media. Limit time you spend on these platforms. To feel better about yourself and the direction your life is taking, it’s crucial you stop comparing. Take some time to make a list. On one side, write down all of the positives in your life. On the other, note down two or three things you want to change and make these your focus. This way you can start to shift the balance; becoming more present in your own life rather than escaping into other people’s will help you to counter your feelings of inadequacy.