Stay Connected     
call us for more information I (905) 491-6949

Free Articles

Sensitive Kids

Andrea Ramsay Speers - Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I've run into a few people in my practice lately who are what author Elaine Aron would describe as highly sensitive.  These are people who share a list of common traits (some of which I'll share in a moment) and who are more affected by sensory input of all kinds.  Aron argues that this isn't a diagnosis or a form of pathology that needs to be corrected, more of a temperament, a fixed part of personality, that needs to be worked with (not against) in order for the person to function at their maximum potential.

Here are some of the traits she describes -- does it sound like anyone you know (including yourself)?:

  • startles easily
  • sensitive to things like scratchy clothes, tags, or seams
  • doesn't usually enjoy big surprises
  • vulnerable to overstimulation
  • deep inner reactions to people and situations
  • heightened awareness of others (can sometimes be seen as shyness)
  • caution before proceeding
  • easily bothered by things like odours, wet clothing, or noisy places

Aron has a 23 item true-or-false checklist in her book The Highly Sensitive Person to help you determine whether or not you or your child would qualify for her description of being highly sensitive. 

Heightened sensitivity isn't always a bad thing.  It makes people very attuned to what’s going on with other people, so they make great friends and counsellors (ahem) .  But it can be overwhelming at times, too – something as minor as clutter can make it impossible for a highly sensitive person to think clearly, and perfectionistic and cautious tendencies can make decision-making tedious at times.

So how can you help a sensitive child make the most of his or her nature?  Start by making reasonable accommodations.  Teach your kids to recognize and respect their own boundaries -- don't go to a sleep over and watch a horror movie if you know it's going to keep you awake for the rest of the week.  (I learned that one the hard way.) 

Don't be overly protective in keeping your child from getting hurt.  The more overprotective the parent, the more disruptive the sensitivity is in the child.  Talk with your child or teen about ways to cope in uncomfortable situations, and help him recognize his own boundaries.  Walk him through specific situations, including what could go wrong, and ask, "If that happened, what could you do?" 

And finally, stay positive.  While the sensitivity might make you want to scream and pull your hair out at times, it comes with lots of great qualities, too.  This is part of who your child is, so trying to change it or deny it won't get you very far.  As with all kids, play up the strengths and prepare in advance for the more challenging times.

Comments
Lydia Stone commented on 24-Sep-2013 11:41 AM
Oakville mom and life coach Laurel Crossley specializes in the parenting of sensitive children. She wrote an awesome 6-part series for the TogetherMoms.ca website, starting out withDo I Have a Sensitive Child?

Post a Comment




Captcha Image

Trackback Link
http://www.oakvillefamilyinstitute.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=11133&PostID=392481&A=Trackback
Trackbacks
Post has no trackbacks.

READY TO ENJOY BEING HOME AGAIN?
Contact the Oakville Family Institute office at (905) 491-6949 to book an appointment
to talk about what’s driving you crazy at home. Appointments with me are booked for a time that’s good for you – day or evening.
How Andrea Can Help
Book An Appointment

Focused solutions for your family’s challenges. Let’s talk

Parenting
eCourse

The instruction manual you always wanted your kids to
come with!

Download
The Parent Kit

The 7 things your kids wished you knew about them.
 

Free
Articles

Have an interest in a specific topic? Take a look here.
 

Andrea Ramsay Speers • Psychotherapist & Parent Coach • Oakville Family Institute • 175 Glenashton Dr., Oakville ON • Tel.: 905-491-6949

Home     Free Articles     Parent Toolkit     About Andrea     Media     FAQ     Resources     Contact

© Oakville Family Institute: Counselling for Parents 2016. All Rights Reserved.
Created and Maintained by DMXperts