It’s never an easy task to discipline your children, but for parents of highly sensitive kids, things are much more complicated and challenging. While there are some typical signals of a sensitive child, many parents are still unsure what is a highly sensitive child. Learn more about this to determine if your child is sensitive or not so you can find a proper way to discipline them.
What is a highly sensitive child?
Many parents ask themselves, what is a highly sensitive child? They wonder if their children are highly sensitive or not.
Generally, sensitive kids are known as those who often feel things on a deeper level than other children. A sensitive child is often highly aware and quick to react.
If a child is highly sensitive, he tends to be easily overwhelmed. While you see that sensitive can be extremely compassionate and soft-spoken, their emotions are easily affected by others. They are incredibly empathetic and perceptive to their surroundings as well as the way they move through space. Even the littlest thing may send them into a downward spiral of tears and screams.
A highly sensitive child can have a complete meltdown as they can easily get feelings of disappointment when they fail to do something. In this situation, parents can try to reassure their child that it’s OK to get nervous and they can try again when the kid is feeling a bit better. But this way would only be effective on a child who is not highly sensitive. With a sensitive child, you can’t sway their feelings with those words.
How to discipline a sensitive child?
Never admit that being a parent is one of the most wonderful jobs on the planet. And we can say that everyone who has the privilege of being a parent is truly lucky, but not all time it’s easy. We know the most meaningful jobs come with hard work. For the parent of a highly sensitive or emotional child, the job is even more challenging.
First of all, please note that being sensitive is not a syndrome or a disability, it’s a personality trait, just like any other trait of a person. Just recognize that there is nothing wrong with being sensitive. Even, being highly sensitive one a precious characteristic, once a child and their parents know how to best organize and care for the deep emotions and feelings. A sensitive child may be one of the kindest and most compassionate kids that you’ll never meet.
When children are highly sensitive, they cry very often. They usually worry about getting into trouble frequently, which makes them need a great deal of reassurance. Also, sensitive children feel every emotion intensely, meaning they are likely to become overexcited, super scared, and extra angry.
In addition, you will know that some sensitive children are not just emotionally sensitive, they may also be sensitive to anything physical triggering their senses. For example, loud noises, bright lights, or other certain textures may lead them to a tailspin. The child tends to fear large crowds and has difficulty dealing with any type of change.
Sensitive kids are considered to be hesitant to try new things and they often want to avoid dealing with frustration. As a result, their interactions with their friends may be affected when other children start to call them “the kid who cries a lot” or “the kid who easily gets mad”.
While strict discipline can help some kids change their behavior, harsh punishments can lead to more problems with sensitive kids. This requires parents to find a proper way to nurture and guide sensitive kids. The following discipcline strategies will provide you the discipline your sensitive child might need.
Accept their sensitivity
Don’t try to change your child’s characteristics if you realize that your child is sensitive. Instead of viewing your child’s sensitive character as a disability or something similar, you can emphasize their strengths and gifts. Acknowledge that something might be easy for another child while it’s quite hard for a sensitive child.
You should focus on teaching your children to deal with their emotions in a proper manner instead of discouraging them from experiencing big feelings. When you hope your child to be less sensitive, just remember that it’s the same sensitivity that usually makes them be extremely kind to others.
Praise their efforts
Please keep in mind that a child who is sensitive needs plenty of encouragement. Don’t hesitate to praise your child’s efforts, even when they fail to do something. At least, they’ve tried to do that. But make sure your praise is earned. Often, kids who receive praise no matter what they do have lower self-esteem than kids who are praised more intermittently.
What we need to do is to praise a child’s efforts rather than the results of what they’ve done. For example, you can say “I love the way you try to do your math”. Let the child understand that effort and hard work are worthy of praise, even if it doesn’t bring as good results as they expected.
Sensitive children are usually overwhelmed by situations. They can be left not knowing how to respond. In these situations, we need to help them know how to come up with solutions that can relieve their anxiety and stress. That’s why it is vital for us to teach our kids problem-solving skills.
Having problem-solving skills can create a big difference in a sensitive child’s daily life. You need to teach your kids step-by-step instructions for tackling problems and the children can gain confidence in their ability to deal with uncomfortable situations.
Support your sensitive child to be more confident to deal with different problems in their lives! I believe the strategies above can be good ways to help children gain the benefits of thoughtful discipline while sparing them some of the emotional anguish inherent with a highly sensitive child.