Highly Sensitive Child
People who are highly sensitive are often misunderstood, viewed as ‘weak’, ‘dramatic’ or ’just making things difficult.’
When we have a highly sensitive child (referred to as ‘HSC’ for short), it can be triggering for parents and lead to a sense of ‘my child is from another planet when they carry on and on about stuff.’
Highly sensitive people have extensive gifts in empathy, intelligence, creativity and thoughtfulness.
They notice subtleties in environments, the energy of others, and can sense when things feel different emotionally: internally or with others.
In this audio clip, I address a parent’s question about their daughter’s high sensitivity – which often gets so bad that it stops her from doing things she loves like dancing and going to friends’ parties.
The 5 key things I impart to every parent of a highly sensitive child are…
- Being highly sensitive is not a choice, so learning how to balance your parenting response is vital. Try to be flexible and compromise, while also acknowledging that sometimes the sensory input is so overwhelming your child cannot function.
- Shaming a HSC results in lower self-esteem, and does not motivate change. Empathy is what makes HSCs thrive.
- As with all potentially-challenging traits, teach your child to love that part of themselves (rather than rejecting it), and show them how we can learn to work with it (seeing the benefits in the trait rather than viewing it as negative).
- Feeling understood is like oxygen for a HSC – even if you don’t fully agree, you can at least validate their experience by saying something like ‘I understand how important this is to you, and I can see that tuning out the background noise is hard for your brain right now.’
- A parent who says ‘I wish you weren’t so sensitive and dramatic!’ creates a child who hears: ‘Who I am in this moment is not enough. Other people define my worth, and the person who is supposed to love me the most just said I am not worthy as I am.’