September 24, 2022

Highly Sensitive Child Parenting Strategies

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If you’re the parent of a highly sensitive child, you may have found that your parenting style has changed dramatically over the past few years. It’s important to understand why your highly sensitive child acts the way they do, and it’s equally important to understand what you can do to help them best in order to ensure your child grows up happy and well-adjusted.

There are many strategies you can use to best raise your highly sensitive child so they can reach their full potential as an adult.

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Understanding Highly Sensitive Children

As the parent of a highly sensitive child, you might be wondering how to toughen up your son or daughter. Or, you might be looking for ways to help your child feel more comfortable in the world. Either way, it’s important to understand that your child’s sensitivity is not a problem to be solved. In fact, it’s simply a matter of understanding your child’s temperament and using positive discipline strategies that are in line with your child’s developmental needs.

Your highly sensitive child may be especially vulnerable to criticism and negative feedback, so it’s important to create an environment where your child feels safe enough to learn from mistakes. When you take steps to help your child understand why he’s feeling upset and how to avoid making that mistake in the future, your sensitivity can become a strength. It can also make it easier for you as parents to handle your own stress and frustration.

There is Nothing Wrong with Your Sensitive Child

Parenting a highly sensitive child has its challenges. You might be wondering if this is something to worry about and how you can help them deal with their sensitivity. But the truth is, there is nothing wrong with your sensitive child.

In fact, they are often more in tune with their emotions and the feelings of others. While this can sometimes lead to them feeling overwhelmed, having the proper outlets to help them release the negative emotions in a healthy way allows them to develop strong problem-solving skills. So instead of trying to change your child, embrace their sensitivity and help them find ways to cope with it.

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General Traits of Sensitive Kids

Sensitive kids are usually highly intelligent and tend to be perfectionists. They are also very passionate, compassionate, and imaginative. They might be drawn to the arts, music, or writing but they can also be extremely creative and innovative. They are often highly sensitive to their environment, including the people around them. Sensitive kids need to be respected and understood.

In general, parents want their kids to be tough enough to face the world on their own. So how do you deal with a sensitive child? The best thing you can do is help your child build skills through activities and playtime.

But it’s also important to offer emotional support for the child so he feels understood. Remember that being an HSP means your child will have different needs than other kids might have.

You might have children who are very sensitive and emotional. As they grow older, you must find strategies to help them feel safe while still developing their independence.

Do you have a child who has sensory processing sensitivity?

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Characteristics of Highly Sensitive Kids

Some children are born highly sensitive, meaning they are more in tune with their surroundings and emotions than other kids. This can present challenges when raising them, as they may be more prone to sensory overload and emotional outbursts. However, there are some strategies you can use to help your highly sensitive child cope with the world around them.

For example, you can provide a calm and nurturing environment at home, help them avoid overwhelming situations when possible, and teach them how to express their feelings in healthy ways.

You can also let your child know that he’s not alone – many people feel like they do! And most importantly, offering them the knowledge and skills to change how they feel. By changing what we are focused on, we can direct how we feel. This is a skill that will serve them their whole life.

High Sensitivity in Children is Not…

A popular misconception is that highly sensitive children are weak, delicate, and in need of extra care. In actuality, they are often very observant, intuitive, and deeply feeling. High sensitivity in children is not:

  • 1. Shyness: High sensitivity in children is not a sign of shyness. The best parenting strategies for a highly sensitive child involve teaching them to be strong by toughening up their outer shell while at the same time allowing them to feel deeply on the inside.
  • 2. Introversion: High sensitivity in children does not equal introversion. Highly sensitive people absorb energy from others, so it’s important to teach them how to release it by spending some time alone with themselves or engaging in activities that make them happy. Being out in nature, spending time with animals, or walking barefoot on the ground is very helpful.
  • 3. Aggression: High sensitivity in children does not lead to aggression. Many highly sensitive people have problems dealing with anger, which can lead to mood swings or outbursts when they’re tired or hungry, or stressed out. However, learning how to manage their emotions from an early age, helps them develop healthy habits to release the rage and anger instead of bottling it up.
  • 4. Being Neurotic: High sensitivity in children does not lead to being neurotic. Although highly sensitive kids may have emotional meltdowns more easily than other kids, this doesn’t mean they are more likely to develop mental illness as adults.
  • 5. A Sensory Processing Disorder: High sensitivity in children does not automatically equate to having a sensory processing disorder. A highly sensitive person’s response to sensory input can differ greatly depending on many factors, such as personality type, anxiety levels, and whether they are currently fighting an infection or suffering from allergies.

Daughter hugging smiling mom

Parenting Strategies to Help Highly Sensitive Kids

Most parents are aware of the temperament trait called Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), but may not know it applies to their children, too! This means highly sensitive children can be affected by the same parenting strategies as HSP adults, although highly sensitive children do have some characteristics that distinguish them from adults.

Here are some of the best parenting strategies for highly sensitive children and how to go about implementing them in your own home with your own highly sensitive child.

Develop consistency in routines

One of the best things you can do for a highly sensitive child is to develop consistency in routines. This will help your child feel safe and secure and will allow them to predict what will happen next.

It’s important to be flexible, though, as sensitive children can often be easily overwhelmed. Try to stick to a schedule as much as possible, but be willing to adjust when necessary.

Be aware of sensory processing differences

If you have a highly sensitive child, it’s important to be aware of their sensory processing differences. They may be more sensitive to light, sound, and touch than other children. This can make everyday activities and situations overwhelming for them. There are ways to help your child cope with their sensitivities.

For example, you can provide them with a quiet place to retreat to when they need a break. You can also help them build up their tolerance to different stimuli by gradually exposing them to new things in small doses.

Empathize with your child

It can be difficult to parent a highly sensitive child. You might feel like you have to walk on eggshells all the time, and it can be tough to watch your child get hurt emotionally. But there are things you can do to help your child deal with their sensitivity.

Empathize, and respond to your child’s fears and concerns. Encourage them to talk about their worries, and show them how you deal with similar issues.

For example, if your child is upset that they got into trouble at school, help them think of some other alternatives they could choose the next time they feel that way. Talk about how you dealt with challenges when you were younger, and encourage your child to come up with strategies of their own.

Establish boundaries

It’s important to establish boundaries with your highly sensitive child. This means setting limits on things like loud noises and bright lights.

Encourage Independence and Accept Their Sensitivity

One of the best things you can do for a highly sensitive child is to encourage their independence. This will help boost their self-esteem and help them feel like responsible adults. Child development experts also say that it’s important to accept your child’s sensitivity.

Adopt coping mechanisms early on

Highly sensitive children tend to have a sensitive nervous system, which can make them emotionally sensitive. Many parents of highly sensitive children feel overwhelmed by their child’s efforts. It is important to adopt coping mechanisms early on to help your child cope with their sensitivity.

Provide Downtime

Downtime is important for all family members, but it is especially important for a sensitive kid. During this time, the child can relax and recharge without having to worry about stimulations from the outside world.

Praise Their Efforts

It’s important to praise your child’s efforts, no matter how small they may seem. This will help them feel appreciated and encourage them to keep trying.

Provide Rewards

Providing rewards is a great way to show your highly sensitive child that you love and appreciate them. It also helps them feel good about themselves and encourages them to keep up the good work.

Teach Feeling Words

One of the best things you can do for a highly sensitive child is to help them understand and label their feelings. This can be done by teaching them feeling words and providing opportunities for them to practice using these words.

Teach Problem-Solving

If your child is highly sensitive, it’s important to teach them problem-solving skills. This will help them cope with overwhelming emotions and challenges. Start by teaching your child how to identify their feelings. Then, help them understand that they can always choose new thoughts, which in turn, will directly impact how they feel. Help them reach for a better thought, one that makes them smile.

For example, you can ask your child “Where is your favorite place to go?” or “What are three things you love to do?” or “What’s your favorite thing to eat?” Encourage your child to really think about these answers – which begins to lead them into a new, more positive direction of thought.

Understand your own temperament as a parent

If you’re the parent of a highly sensitive child, it’s important to understand your own temperament as well. After all, parenting is a two-way street. When we have an understanding of our strengths and weaknesses, we can better appreciate the needs of our children and partner in helping them grow into their fullest potential.

Kid learning to walk

How To Discipline Highly Sensitive Children

First, try to avoid disciplining your child in front of other people. This will only embarrass and shame them.

Second, use positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement. Explain what they did wrong and then praise them when they do something right. When we show our children how proud we are of them, it makes them feel better about themselves. They don’t need the anger or criticism from us to know that they’ve done a good job.

Next, treat your highly sensitive child with respect. Avoid yelling at them in anger. Instead, show them you care by making sure they know you are on their side when they make a mistake.

Another way to discipline them is, don’t push your highly sensitive child to do things they are not comfortable with. Forcing them will only make them more anxious and unhappy.

Use a neutral tone of voice, be understanding and empathetic towards your child’s feelings, and set clear limits but provide flexibility so that your child can still have some control over their day-to-day life.

Validate your child’s feelings and emotions. Try to create an environment where your child feels safe and supported as much as possible.

Happy mom and daughter sitting on a couch

FAQs

What causes a child to be overly sensitive?

There are a variety of things that can cause a child to be highly sensitive. It could be due to genetics, their environment, or even how they were raised.

What are highly sensitive kids good at?

Being highly sensitive means that children are able to feel and process emotions more deeply than others. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as it means that they are more attuned to the world around them but can also be easily overwhelmed.

How do you toughen up a sensitive child?

There’s no need to toughen up a sensitive child – they’re perfectly fine the way they are. However, there are some strategies you can use to help them cope with their sensitivity.

Is my child highly sensitive? How do I know?

If your child is highly sensitive, they may be easily overwhelmed by sensory input, have a strong emotional reaction to things, or be very aware of subtleties.

What causes high emotional sensitivity?

There are many things that can cause a child to be highly sensitive, including genetics, environment, and even trauma. Highly sensitive children are often more aware of their surroundings and pick up on subtleties that others might miss.

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to parenting a highly sensitive child. However, there are some general strategies that can help.

Give your children the space they need and allow them to process their emotions in private. Don’t try to overschedule or overstimulate them; instead, keep them on a regular routine with plenty of time for playtime and downtime.

Be careful not to ignore signs of anxiety, such as social withdrawal or irritability. If you notice these signs developing into something more serious like depression, seek professional help immediately. Remember to celebrate your children’s sensitivity!

Taryn Crimi

Taryn Crimi

Taryn is an international intuitive, focused on helping to empower you manifest your best life!

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