Being sensitive is a great gift, but it rarely starts that way. Usually I see boys and girls struggle with their deep feelings and quick reactivity. For example, Holly, age nine, was getting increasingly frustrated in her third grade classroom, which resulted in her throwing a chair across the classroom (Yikes!). The good news is no one was hurt, but the challenge is that most children’s emotional sensitivity starts as chaotic, undirected and emotionally disorganized. So what do we do? That’s the big question.
Sensitivity: Struggle to Strength
We help our sons and daughters slow down, and ultimately make better choices. My nine-year old client, Holly was pure emotion, intensity and reactivity—she wasn’t thinking when she threw the chair, which landed her in the principal’s office. But with some coaching, Holly’s learned how to make choices with her head and her heart, not just letting her feelings run the show. Of course, she represents one child of many that can turn their emotional sensitivity from a liability into an asset, but it takes time and specific steps such as:
Sensitivity can be a strength
Helping your highly sensitive son or daughter transform his or her sensitivity into an asset is essential, especially in our sometimes not-so sensitive world. Some of the most effective ways to do that are through mindfulness, mentoring and being with emotionally healthy friends. What I know for sure is your son or daughter’s sensitivity was given to them as a gift, but it must be balanced with reason for it to become so.
Maureen Healy is an award-winning author, popular speaker and mentor to highly sensitive children globally. Her book, Growing Happy Kids, guided parents to nurture a deeper sense of strength and happiness in their children. To learn more: growinghappykids.com or @mdhealy