Supporting Your Sensitive Child
Written by: Laurel Crossley; Children’s Wellness International
“EEK! My Child Is Sensitive – Now What?”
Best thing to support your sensitive child? R-E-L-A-X!! Super sensitive parents are inclined to bear super sensitive offspring and one of the most difficult things about being super sensitive beings is to hang out together worrying. Becoming your child’s advocate is much different than becoming their bodyguard and when we become emotionally intertangled with these wee beings, it’s often difficult as parents not to become their bodyguard.
The sensitive children that were part of my coaching practice wanted nothing more than to feel “normal”; they often described themselves as feeling like they don’t belong, describing feelings of disconnection from family, friends or classmates and that they feel like something wrong with them or they are treated differently from their siblings. If we continually point out or react negatively to their differences—no matter how “quirky”—we are exacerbating those feelings of disconnection.
As parents of Sensitive children, there are many things we can do to better support our children’s over-processing, potentially anxious and worried brains. Here are three important and easy ways you can support your sensitive children, even right now in your home-quarantine!
- If you’re worried, contact your family physician. If you feel that your child’s sensitivity is impacting your child’s everyday existence on this planet, visit your family physician/health practitioner (without your child) to discuss whether or not your concerns are valid. This gives many of the parents of sensitive kids peace of mind.
- Keep your behaviour in check parents! Our energies can impact a child’s behaviour. Whether we are anxious/worried, angry/upset, or conversely elated and filled with joy, our sensitive children will emulate or be affected by our behaviours and reactions. If need be, walk away from your sensitive child so you can process your feelings and return when you feel calm and peaceful.
- Keep your language in check parents! Reframe how you talk to your children about their sensitivities – come from a light, interested place so the child is encouraged to talk about the sensitivity. Never use sarcasm or compare your children to one another to illustrate how the sensitivity is affecting the family.
- Ask your child what he or she needs! We are often too wrapped up in our own emotions with respect to our child’s sensitivities and finding solutions for them, that we neglect to ask our child what they need to better support their sensitivities. It’s amazing how many children I saw in my coaching practice who (when asked) can articulate what they need.
- Find a support community! There are many groups forming both online and offline that support and foster dialogue about sensitive children. It astounds me at the numbers of groups that are out there and social media (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) are quick to lend a helping hand to access resources specific to a parent’s community!
- Discover your child’s happy place! You would be amazed at the difference in a child once you discover the space that resonates and best supports your sensitive child. If your child feels connected to the outdoors, allow them to be in the outdoors as often as possible, if they connect with animals, let them spend as much time as possible with animals, if they like to read or have quiet time, give them the space to do so in peace and quiet. Sensitive children need their time and space to help them deal with their sensitivities. Meditation has been one of the most helpful techniques to support sensitive children in my coaching practice. It allows children to disengage from the outside world and refocus their energies, oftentimes alleviating the sensitivity.
Simplifying our chaotic lives and stopping to “smell the roses”, allows children to express themselves, allows them to be free in their own spectacular minds, bodies, and spirits, and better communicate their needs to parents. Giving children the gift of allowing their sensitivities to naturally occur in a neutral environment ensures children feel empowered in themselves, as a member of their family.
Enjoy your sensitive child as their observer and appreciator and delight in their sensitivities for they truly are a gift.