4 signs your child has a highly sensitive brain according to Parenting Experts

4 signs your child has a highly sensitive brain according to Parenting Experts

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As parents, we all want to connect with our kids in a meaningful way. Not only do we want to protect them; we want to understand their motivations, their eccentricities, their strengths, and their human frailties.

We need to know these things because our primary job as parents is to prepare our kids to function in the world without us. It’s the kick in the gut all parents must face eventually: We only succeed if our kids no longer need us to hold their hands on the journey through life.

Just as they need to learn how to tie their shoes, cook spaghetti, and parallel park the family car, we have to learn to let go.

Yet, sometimes, our kids seem so vulnerable that letting go is unthinkable. Maybe they come home crying without an explanation. Or maybe they struggle to find words to describe the source of deep, debilitating emotional pain.

Clearly, they need you. How could you ever think of pushing them out of the nest?

Ah, but that’s the thing. Yes, they need you to feel empathy for them and to express compassion toward them as only a loving parent can. But maybe not the way you think. They don’t need sympathy or even a shoulder to cry on. Really, what they could use from you is advice on how to develop a set of tools to help them navigate a world that rarely caters to the emotionally sensitive.

If you suspect that your child might have a highly sensitive brain, your approach to parenting can adjust accordingly. The trick is to recognize that your kid is exhibiting signs of high sensitivity. To help identify those signs that a child has a highly sensitive brain, we reached out to a panel of YourTango parenting experts for their insight.

Here are signs your child has a ‘highly sensitive’ brain — and how to help them cope, according to parenting experts:

1. They are precocious and extremely aware or responsive

When your child’s behaviour is suddenly uncharacteristically different, it likely is inexplicable to both of you. It may be that their hypersensitivity triggers their reactivity.

Reactivity is signalling to you that something is different. The reactive behaviour seems incomprehensible due to your non-experience. You can only follow the breadcrumbs.

Perhaps clues have been showing up since birth via demonstrations of early, uncharacteristic motor skills and sensory engagement. Perhaps your child was a notably happy or distressed baby. Perhaps they demonstrated advanced babbling or speaking. As toddlers, they may surprise you with their level of awareness and responsiveness, while you’re thinking, “How could they have known that?” You might easily feel self-consciously unaware in comparison. Sometimes it may seem like they’ve been here before.

Here are some questions that may act as clues to your child’s highly sensitive brain:

1. Do they appear to inexplicably fear certain ordinary objects, people, or things?

2. Do they seem more attuned to nature and natural rhythms?

Perhaps you’ve been camping and noticed unusual sleep habits — switching to sleep at sunset and naturally awakening at sunrise.

Beware of recently emerged parental discord as your child signals sensitivity by swiftly mirroring back to you what they are picking up from your own distressed behaviours. This can result in medication for the identified patient in the family, being prescribed to control a seemingly otherwise uncontrollable child.

Your child is better served by compassion and empathy for something you cannot experience. Instead, focus on the awe of your adult self interacting with a child who also is your highly engaging and interesting offspring.

– Dr. Liz Zed, certified mentor coach

2. They startle easily or take teasing to heart

Do you have a child that can’t stand to wear certain clothes because the material is not soft enough for her? Does she startle and cry out when someone comes up behind her to give her a hug? Is she always insisting that teasing is not nice and cries when a sibling teases her? Is she very bright and teachers often praise you as parents when you go into a school meeting about your child?

Welcome aboard. You probably have a highly sensitive child. Most likely I would suspect you are highly sensitive also. I know I was and am. I was teased in my neighbourhood at 4 by “Kenny,” who lived in the downstairs apartment. Almost every day I came back inside crying. My parents cuddled and hugged me but also made me go back outside. Slowly over years, I learned that I could stand up for myself. My parents offered me the right balance of love and push to the outside world.

Here are a few techniques to help a sensitive child grow up safe and sound and become a thriving student, friend and family member:

1. Make sure they know that you realize that they are sensitive and that is not only OK but sometimes wonderful.

2. Tell her that you realize how hard it is to deal with being very sensitive, but you truly believe your child has the capacity to handle life. On the other hand, you teach her what she needs at the moment to function in a world where many are not sensitive.

3. Teach your other kids if necessary to not tease or startle. It will make them nicer and there is nothing wrong with that.

– Dr Barbara Becker Holstein, positive psychologist, author, and filmmaker

3. They are frequently overwhelmed by external stimuli

One concern for children who have what can be seen as a sensitive brain is that they may be easily overwhelmed and feel anxious. As a psychologist, I have worked with highly sensitive adolescents who have developed psychological problems, some of which have led to these children becoming to become drug involved early in their lives. An underlying struggle they have due to their “highly sensitive brain” is not being able to soothe themselves.

Here are a few signs that children with a highly sensitive brain are struggling to self-soothe:

1. They become easily overwhelmed by loud noises and confusion. This can be shown by kids who have a difficult time engaging in boisterous activities and instead try to remove themselves from the situation, even if it is a pleasant event, such as a party, by leaving the room, putting on headphones, needing to become involved in a video game, needing to draw, and or

2. They eat large amounts of carbs, particularly sweets, as a way to calm themselves with food.

3. They experiment early in life with drug and alcohol use.

They’re coping in these ways due to being overwhelmed by taking in too much sensory input — sights, sounds, smells. This needs to be understood by parents and caregivers — not punished.

– Patricia O’Gorman, psychologist, life coach, author

4. They can be overwhelmed by empathetic responses

Highly sensitive kids are intensely affected by others’ pain; they absorb the emotions and feel it as if it is their pain. Whether their friend’s dog has passed away or someone is crying on a television show, or they learn about something troubling or tragic on the news, you will notice that they are deeply upset, also.

They might withdraw in sadness or well up with tears overwhelmed — flooded — by unexpected feelings. While it can be overwhelming, this propensity to tune into others helps sensitive kids to be empathetic listeners, great friends, and champions for those in need.

Thanks for reading from as a news publishing website from Ghana. You’re free to share this story on various social media platforms.

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