Highly sensitive children are born with a nervous system which tends to be sharp and highly aware of the people around them and their surroundings. They quickly react to everything because they pick up vibes and energies instantly. Such children are called highly sensitive and happen to be incredibly responsive to whatever happens around them, be it sounds, smells, lighting, the mood and vibes of people.
Who are Highly Sensitive Children?
A highly sensitive child is perceptive, empathic, caring, and is aware of the world and its sufferings. But all of this becomes a bit too overwhelming for a child. It causes a parent great distress to see their child react and sometimes, overreact to every slight sadness in the world and feel devastated; whereas, other kids don’t even seem to care.
These children are blessed with a sense of awareness. Even at an early age, these children are naturally gifted creatively, emotionally, and intellectually. They tend to show genuine compassion when they are quite young themselves. But all of this is not only overwhelming for the children but for the parents, too. Crowds, noises, and situations and any sudden kinds of changes, they do not take it too well.
What to Parent a Highly Sensitive Child Need?
Do you have any idea how rewarding could it be to parent a highly sensitive child? But at the same time, a large number of parents admit it to be exhausting. For example, suppose you have two kids. One gets back home, and maybe he slipped in the hallway and fell. He hurt his knee but does not think much of it. Now, your other kid also fell and found someone laughing at him. He cannot stop thinking about it and is very upset. You are unable to console him because he felt insulted. You do see the difference, don’t you?
Raising a healthy and well-adjusted sensitive child is totally possible, but you need to build some serious parenting skills. Here’s how:
Step one is to whole-heartedly accept your child’s sensitivity. Many parents take their children to therapists so that their child becomes less sensitive and maybe more normal. But that is not how it’s done. What you can do is accept your child’s sensitivity as it is. And try to be a part of that journey as they grow from little kids to adults.
2. Team up with your child instead
Studies report that sensitive children respond much better when they are asked to partner up with their adults instead of harsh discipline. When you opt for harsh discipline methods, it would lead to the exact behaviors you want to avoid like temper tantrums and emotional meltdowns (yelling and crying). If the discipline is too harsh, highly sensitive children feel traumatized such as physical punishment such as hitting and yelling. They can be harmful to any child but they are particularly devastating for highly sensitive kids.
When you team up with your child, you are able to learn the situations which trigger them and then make efforts to avoid them around the house, at least. At the same time, teaming up with them allows you to give them tools such as breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques, or calming music that distracts them from feeling overwhelmed.
3. Take their sensitivity as a gift
It is normal to get angry or frustrated with your child if they are withdrawn, cry constantly, and avoid any kind of social situations. Rather than seeing your sensitive child as someone with a problem, make them see it as their very own special gift from nature.
If you notice sensitivity is a common trait found in creative people, artists, and innovators. Common examples of highly sensitive personalities and thinkers are Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell.
4. Create a Calming Environment
As highly sensitive children are greatly impacted by their school, and home environments, so it is essential that as a parent, you create a safe and calm zone for them where they are at ease. Create a corner for them or some space that has their favorite things with the right lighting, sounds, colors, and surroundings. Highly sensitive children crave for such kind of serenity as being surrounded by too many people and noises, gets exhausting for them.
5. Help them to understand their emotions and express them
Gifted children are able to influence powerful emotions, even when they are very young. Their feelings are a bit intense for them, too. What you can do is make them understand that their feelings are not magical and that, they are experiencing them because of actual events. But how do they know that? You have to teach them with examples such as when people are hungry, they feel cranky and that people who don’t know how to share get angry when someone takes away their things/toys.
With the help of simple examples and reasonable explanations, you can make your children make sense of their inner turmoil and then remind them that it is perfectly alright to feel everything so deeply. You could encourage them to find out where their emotions are stemming from. This way, your child gets a better understanding of their emotions. Also, teach them how they can express their feelings. When they know how to express what they feel openly and respectfully at home, this allows them to learn a very important life skill that reduces a variety of problems in the future.
These things take time. If your child is still learning to express their innermost emotions or what they are going through in school and their social life, you could always keep an eye on them and monitor them without being overbearing. There are digital solutions such as Xnspy to keep an eye on children and their phone activities that give parents an insight into their child’s digital life remotely. Through such apps, parents are informed of any troubling or worrying situation their child might be going through in real life and unable to communicate properly to their parents.
One Last Thing
It is extremely important to know that because of their emotional and sensitive nature, highly sensitive children are prone to experience criticism and shaming. Any attempt that could assist them in gaining a bit of perspective could fail massively if you, in some way, minimize or disregard their feelings. Making them feel ashamed of their emotions and reactions are actually making them feel ashamed of the nature they are born with. Emotional sensitivity is nothing to be ashamed of. Research reveals that greater activity in the brain regions is linked with empathy in people who are highly sensitive.
So, it is inevitable for parents of highly sensitive children that they curate such an environment for their child where their feelings are acceptable even when you don’t always see eye to eye and disagree with some of their behaviors or emotions.
About the author:
Alex Miller has worked with children for more than two decades and provides counseling to both children and their parents. He has done a lot of research on child-parent relation and possesses valuable insights as to how both can have a healthy and loving relationship.
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