One in five children are more affected by their environment and stand out from their peers. How does this sensitivity show up & what can parents do about it?

Sensitive children are more easily overwhelmed & prickly in their responses. They may complain that their clothes are too itchy, sounds are too loud, smells are too strong, or some foods taste so bad. They frequently suffer allergies, skin problems & attention difficulties. They also possess a natural brightness & intellect.

Why is this so? Because their natural filter system is not working properly & they are bombarded by sensory information. This makes them highly tuned to their environment & easily overwhelmed. It is comparable to radio antennas that are tuned for maximum receptivity.

In stressful environments they may suffer mental health issues, addictions, and delinquency but in nourishing conditions they can blossom into a flower of unusual delicacy and beauty.

What can parents do?

Protect them from environments, relationships & experiences that are overwhelming by reducing stimulation where possible.

2. Be a resourceful, caring, strong parent who can handle their child’s emotions & not let their behaviour affect their relationship with you.

3. Welcome upset before it erupts rather than waiting for things to get out of hand.

4. Bridge problem behaviour, saying “This behaviour isn’t okay but I will talk to you later about it and we will find a way through.” Discuss problem behaviour outside of the incident, in the context of a warm connection.

5. Help them express their big feelings over things that are not working for them & eventually feel their sadness through tears. Over time this will lead them to a place of emotional regulation & resilience.

By Laura Newman  MSc