Things you need to know about sensitive children

Things you need to know about sensitive children

Photo: LS

In a world that takes pride in toughness and machoism, sensitivity is often mistaken for passiveness or weakness. In reality, however, this is a rare strength that runs the world, and given a nurturing environment, children with highly sensitive minds often enjoy certain advantages.

Some of these advantages include more creativity, openness, and awareness than other children. It also includes another, very underrated trait called empathy, where children with such a characteristic are unable to watch a stranger in pain without wanting to help. As emotional stimuli tend to affect sensitive children more, they are also able to take encouragement and reinforcement better, making them high achievers.

Among the most common signs of highly sensitive children are that they are more observant, noticing every tiny detail. These children are also highly aware of other people’s moods, absorbing them like a sponge. They struggle to shake off heavy emotions such as anger or anxiety within themselves, and most of them are also physically sensitive, i.e., feeling tight clothing, itchy bedsheets, or clothing labels much more than others. Loud, messy environments bother them and they are almost always olfactorily sensitive too.

These children hate being rushed, and respond better to gentle discipline. If children seem wiser than their age and you often find them making astute comments, you are probably dealing with a sensitive one. With a quick sense of humour and an above-average inferential accuracy when it comes to other people, sensitive children are often picky eaters and jumpy in nature. If any of these traits seem familiar, know that these are positives. Sensitive children have a surprisingly different take on their environment and this should be encouraged, rather than stifled.

Parents can play a pivotal role in helping sensitive children thrive. One way they can do this is by setting clear expectations for them ahead of time. As sensitive children do not like being hurried, giving them clarity often helps them work towards their goals better.

It is equally important for parents and guardians to understand that sensitive children feel all kinds of emotions very acutely, including negative ones. As a caregiver, the objective should be to make the child feel comforted and valued, rather than rejected or invalidated. Encouragement, therefore could work wonders for a sensitive child, while harsh discipline may do the complete opposite.

Children learn by imitation and the ones they admire the most often become the ones they emulate. One of the best ways to coach them through their own big feelings is to model positive ways to handle your own emotions. It is also wise to advocate on behalf of them with their teachers in advance so as to avoid misconceptions and to actively praise them when they demonstrate empathy towards others.

Finally, asking them open-ended questions and learning more about their emotions makes them feel validated and also allows parents to get more insights into how they navigate their feelings. The answers might surprise you and even help you see them in a more empathetic light.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *