Highly sensitive children process the world around them in a deeper way than other children do. A highly sensitive child can come across as intense or can be very reactive in minor situations. This doesn’t mean that they are “bad” or temperamental. It simply means that they are deeply affected by even the smallest change in their environment.
Highly sensitive kids are often misunderstood due to the intensity of their emotions. Their behavior can cause their own parents to face certain challenges in raising them. Here are a few tips from a former highly sensitive child who is now raising a sensitive child of her own.
Validate your child’s feelings.
Sensitive children often experience emotional extremes. They may have sudden outbursts more often than not. And although it may be difficult to deal with, validating your child’s feelings is a good way to help them feel seen and heard. This can also help de-escalate intense situations and soothe extreme emotions.
Be patient with your child.
Like any other child, highly sensitive children are learning as they go. They may not always react well to certain situations or environments. Sensitive children are more prone to feeling overwhelmed by new situations. They may not always want to participate in certain activities or leave your side if they feel shy or anxious. This can be frustrating to parents, but by being patient, you can help them cope with any situation.
Try not to overreact to your child’s intensity.
This is definitely easier said than done, but remaining calm during outbursts can help your child settle down more quickly. When a parent overreacts to their child’s out-of-control behavior, it tends to make things worse. Try to remember that you need to be their rock when they are in distress.
Avoid “problem-solving” during meltdowns.
During meltdowns, parents typically try to use empathetic responses or words of affirmation. These may sometimes work, but there will probably be moments when your children just need you to be there for them as a calming presence. During these moments of overwhelm, children are not thinking rationally. It is best to wait until after your child has calmed down.
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Don’t minimize your child’s emotions.
When children lash out, parents try to make all of the bad feelings go away. However, talking your children out of their feelings doesn’t help them magically go away forever. In fact, downplaying their feelings may lead to even more intense outbursts in the future. Allow your child to express their emotions in a healthy and productive way.
Seek help if needed.
Due to their high sensitivity, sensitive children are typically more prone to experiencing mental health challenges. Challenges such as anxiety and sensory processing issues can cause problems later on in life. It may be best for your child to participate in programs such as early childhood intervention (ECI), so they can get the help they need. You can try your best to guide them through their sensitivity issues, but sometimes guidance from a licensed professional can make all the difference.
Visit here for more information on ECI in El Paso.
I hope these tips help you as you parent your highly-sensitive child!
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