These kids are one of a kind

Last Updated : 18 October 2013, 15:56 IST
Last Updated : 18 October 2013, 15:56 IST

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There are certain children who come across as shy and introvert, but highly mature and creative. If you are parent to such a child, consider yourself extremely blessed, enlightens Alvina Clara.

Do you find your child peculiar in his/her behaviour compared to other kids in the similar age group? Is (s)he is not able to stop crying after someone has ridiculed or mocked at him/her? Does your kid prefer to play alone, keeping noisy groups at bay? Does your child seem to interpret your mind and even get a pulse of your thoughts? Or does (s)he have a lot of questions that are asked out of curiosity?

Does (s)he implausibly observe all minute details of every aspect? Is (s)he overtly emotional, instantaneously reacting to destructive criticism? If you answered yes to any of the these, you may be raising a highly sensitive child. Oh and yes, this is a great thing!

A highly sensitive child is one of the fifteen to twenty percent of individuals born with a nervous system that is highly aware and swift to react to everything. All highly sensitive children are receptive to their emotional and physical environment. Such children are incredibly responsive to their environments whether it is the lighting, sounds, smell, or moods of people - these kids pick it all up.

They are also effortlessly overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation, sudden changes, and the emotional distress of others. They prefer to reflect deeply inside rapidly grasping subtle changes. Sensitive children are typically creative and make exuberant careers in dance, art, music, writing, and the likes, for they believe in innovation.

Highly sensitive children are comparatively difficult. There are two types: active, emotionally intense, demanding, and persistent. The other type is composed, turned inward, and almost too easy to raise except when they are expected to join a group of children they do not know. They shy away or avoid people who are highly pessimistic or condescending in their demeanor. So, they are either outspoken and fussy, or reserved and obedient. But both types are equally sensitive to their surroundings.

Being sensitive is a wonderful peculiarity. It is not a weakness. It is not a syndrome. It is an inborn temperament or style that is found in about twenty percent of children and of nearly all animals. Anything so persistent is not abnormal. It represents a strategy of taking everything into account before acting (the other, more common innate strategy, is to act quickly and think later).

Sensitive people sense danger and see the consequences of an action before others do. Unfortunately, the trait has been somewhat misunderstood. Parents tend to see only one aspect of some sensitive children and label them coy and fearful. And the other type fussy, restless, and hyper-active. If only they could see within the mind of a sensitive child, they would discover the whole narrative of what is going on--creativity, intuition, astonishing wisdom, and empathy for others.

These children have elevated self-awareness levels and are talented in several ways, be it intellectually or creatively. These kids also demonstrate compassion at early ages. They are sponges that absorb grief, pain, and emotional distress of others in a heartbeat.

Defeat and suffering of others is something these kids feel deeply. The hitch is that these kids get easily weighed down by crowds, loud noises, unfamiliar situations and abrupt changes. They have low tolerance towards dominating peers who subdue their fragile personality causing injury to their susceptible feelings.

Constant nagging, bullying, criticizing or any willful wrong doing are not digested by these kids.

It affects their emotional equilibrium causing deep anxiety in them. Conflicts and fights perturb their peace of mind and they find it difficult to regain their psychological steadiness.

One must exercise great care and caution when dealing with highly-sensitive children with focus on their emotional health. These kids need extra concern and special handling.

They must be trained to utilize their sensitivity as a strength and begin empowering themselves with tools to tap into the "upside" of their sensitivity. Boost their insight, creativity, and empathy while concurrently helping them to learn how to manage their affluent emotional lives.

Signs that your toddler is a HSC

*  These kids are demanding, get easily stimulated and are clingy by persona.

* They are highly sensitive to taste, smells, and sounds.

*  They need time to adjust to new situations and people, as they are very cautious and intense by nature.

*  They have high levels of empathy and can fathom people’s agony.

*  They are by and large intelligent for their age and have polished skills with a perfectionist mindset in all that they do.

*  They are gifted with extraordinary sensory perception ability and interpret hints and clues vividly.

Although some of these traits are exigent, they are, on principle, astounding when you consider the emotional depth they must have been born with to experience the world in this way.

Parenting Highly Sensitive Children takes "sensitive parenting skills". It will also bring you joy as your child deciphers his/her world in an inquisitive, loving, and fully present way. Believe it or not, these kids with their unique psyche are such a cut above the rest, it really does require you to put in extra efforts to win them over! Know this: it’s a rewarding effort.

Allow and embrace sensitivity

It's easy to get annoyed and angry with your son or daughter if they continually cry, or withdraw and shy away from regular social situations. Instead of viewing your sensitive child as inherently flawed, it is wise to start viewing him/her as blessed. No intervention can reduce this sensitivity as it is an innate quality in your child.

You cannot alter the psyche of the kid to make him tough. Embracing your kid as highly sensitive is the first step towards developing empathy with them. Take it further by cultivating his/her positive traits such as empathy, intuitiveness, creativity, and curiosity.

These kids have a tremendous amount to offer to the world. But they do need exceptional handling. They need to be appreciated, with their special and intense reactions and behaviours understood. And when correction is needed, they need to be dealt with care so that they do not become anxious or ashamed of their pitfall.

Try to connect

Birds of the same feather flock together holds true for these kids. Highly sensitive children are drawn to other individuals of similar nature to nurture each other's strengths, and this is a good thing. Being empathetic themselves, these children need to know they are understood and validated. They are very choosy when making friendships and select those who understand and respect them as individuals. They may even take years to make that choice.

If you want to connect with them, never abuse, cheat, or threaten them. Once, you do something wrong to them, it is very difficult to regain their approval and friendship. Unfortunately, these kids are often mislabeled as "problem children" or suffering from “Attention Deficit Disorder”. But the truth is that these kids are highly mature for their age and are even aware of their maturity, and indeed grow up to be highly creative and intellectual adults.

Give respect, take respect

Highly sensitive children experience intense emotional feelings. Whether you are reprimanding your little one or trying to understand what a tantrum is about, it is important to be tolerant, calm, reassuring, and helpful. Try not to be oppositional, callous, or impatient. Give affirmative reinforcement. Sensitive children feel things deeply and are likely to take everyday conflicts to heart. Be sure that your child feels loved and esteemed to boost their confidence.

These children, being so highly mature as they are, expect an adult-like respect from you. Never belittle them in front of others. Put them down even once, and chances are that they will remember it for a life-time! Always adopt “only carrot and never stick” policy with them. Motivate them through positive underpinning only. Enforce docile discipline only. Never abuse or even raise your voice, else your child will lose respect for you when you do this. Never pester these kids unnecessarily and be soft-spoken in your pitch and tone.

Give control. Give solitude.

More often than not, these kids long for solitude, and they usually have their “peace spot” at home or school. They also tend to lose themselves in their own world of fantasy. They may not want to meet new people, and when forced to, they may just greet a hello and go back to their “peace spot”. Do not scold them for this behaviour; instead feel proud to inform your guest(s) that your kid is very involved in their activity of interest and likes to keep it silent and solitary. 

These kids also love to be in control of the things they do. They are perfectionists and do not rest until everything is as per their idea of perfection. Never impose your ideas on them. Just let them be. You will find that they are indeed too good to be true, and you’ll feel blessed to have such a talented child. Also keep them engaged in a schedule that they seem to like. But most importantly, be consistent with your care, affection, and even your own unvoiced thoughts and subtle actions.

These kids are highly observant and if you are not consistent, they will avoid you.  While it may seem rather daunting, it is nevertheless a blessing to have a kid that you really need to keep up with. You cannot force a Highly Sensitive Child to grow up as per your wish. For (s)he is the kind that expects you to grow up with them. And if you do give in to this, you will realise that you indeed have a lot to gain from your child and life alike.

Published 18 October 2013, 15:35 IST

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