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Highly sensitive children thread?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Anyone interested in a thread for parents of sensitive children? I've just realized that both of my girls are in completely different ways. And also that both DH and I are as well. (Completely explains a lot of my childhood) Anyway, I think it'd be helpful for us to have a thread where we can talk about how our children are highly sensitive and what we do to best parent them.
post #2 of 21
Definitely!

DS and I are. DH not. Makes life interesting sometimes . . .
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
That would be an interesting dynamic. Dh is borderline, I think he is but he's not so sure. What is your ds like? What are his main sensitivities?
post #4 of 21
DS is very sensitive as am I. Luckily, DH is a sensitive person as in he tries to understand.

I was raised by two parents who thought "feelings" ended at happy, sad, hot, cold. Needless to say my teen years especially were hell on earth because I was constantly told any lament I had was me being too sensitive. To this day, it's all I hear. So I am now trying to be very sensitive to my son's needs and encouraging the discussion of feelings.

I also find my DS needs an explaination for everything. He's not the type that you can just say a quick answer to. He gets very frustrated without the hows and whys of things. That being said explaining things in deatail seems to calm him down and make life easier for him and he will be very agreeable this way.

He also needs "sad time". Sometimes he just likes to have a little cry and I encourage and support him in this. I totally uinderstand. Havign a good cry from time to time relieves stress for me.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
That's a very good tip barnmomma. Dd1 is just like that, always has been. She needs very detailed explanations for everything, which can sometimes be exhausting.

She was an extremely high needs baby and if I had only known then, I probably could have helped her even better than I did. She has high sensitivities to clothing, like tags on clothing, the lines on socks have to be just exactly right, certain fabrics or embellishments on clothing aren't comfortable so she refuses to wear them. DD1, dd2, and I have an intensely good sense of smell and if something smells strongly to us we can't be in the room or wherever. Certain noises, mostly loud, but some just irritating noises really bother them. Dd1 was doing ABC Reading Eggs and couldn't stand the noise it made when she got something right. Both girls get their feelings very hurt very easily as did I all the time as a kid. I ended up being painfully "shy" and have only ever had a few really good friends at a time. I've never been a social butterfly even though I always wanted to be. Today I took the girls to the park and specifically asked dd1 not to go down a ravine, so she did immediately and I said, "Oh man, guess we'll have to go home now." She freaked out, I started walking to the car with dd2 and she threw herself on the ground (nobody else was there, she's way to "shy" to do that in public) and started crying like it was the end of the world. She sat there for a good 5 minutes and finally came and got in the car. She was heartbroken and felt horrible. We can say something to her that a "normal" person wouldn't think twice about and she gets so hurt immediately, like, please don't jump on me at the dinner table. I was just like that as a kid especially with my father and this is bringing it all back out. I'm not sure what to do in these situations or how to help or avoid doing that. I'm trying to be super careful to not hurt her feelings and help her to be open and talk about how she's feeling and that it's okay to have any and all emotions.

There's much more that I'm just now realizing. I can't believe I never put it all together until a friend suggested a book cause one of her dd's is very sensitive also. Anyway, any suggestions you all can give me would be wonderful!
post #6 of 21
I have at least two, plus myself. It keeps life interesting, for sure. They both have sensory issues on top of it, so they are seeing an OT for that. We have the sock issues, the tag issues, the issues with food textures, strong smells bother them both. Beds have to be made "just so". Bright lights are overwhelming to them, they don't like to be cold or hot. The list goes on. I've learned over the years to pick my battles very carefully, because some things just really are NOT worth it on my end. Transitions are hard for them both, so we plan in extra time for that with plenty of reminders and warnings. They both like to know what is coming up, so we have to talk about it.

I am a HSP, so I can relate to a lot of their issues. I was also told to just get over it when growing up. Not because my parents are/were uncaring, but because they didn't realize that I truly felt strongly about things. My own stuff has helped me to be more sensitive to my children's things, although sometimes, I feel so sensorily overwhelmed with them, I lose my patience. It is certainly a learning and growing process. I am always interested in hearing how other parents deal with their HSC.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by floiejo2 View Post
That would be an interesting dynamic. Dh is borderline, I think he is but he's not so sure. What is your ds like? What are his main sensitivities?
In our house it's DH that is ADD. He's not ADHD, but is still pretty energetic. He loves to have music playing all.the.time, often loud (for my ears). He moves around a lot, putters a lot, talks a lot, and has no real "radar" for the feelings and emotions of others. Not that he's mean, bad, or uncaring. His radar just doesn't pick up a lot on the emotional spectrum of others.

DS (7) and I, on the other hand, are both HSP. We can't take a lot of noise and chaos. Neither of us like to be in crowds. We both get easily overwhelmed by lots of noise, people, chaos, or just emotion and busyness. We both needs lots of down time when nothing is going on, and there's no noise or action.

Also, DS and I have pretty finely-tuned emotional radars. We can sense what people are feeling, often too well. We really pick up on emotions extremely well. So we are very attuned to each other and almost never have any conflict. DH really really tries, but he often butts heads with DS because he just doesn't "get" how DS is feeling or why he's reacting to something the way he is. So DH just plows ahead, not really noticing how DS is feeling. Then DS gets frustrated and upset and DH feels bad but doesn't know what he did "wrong" and thinks DS is "too sensitive." Happily, DH is now reading "The Highly Sensitive Child" and we're talking about it a lot, so things are improving.

DS is also sensitive to light and is somewhat picky about clothes (always wants really soft things) but luckily it doesn't go too much beyond that.

He is also always the first kid in a group to be excluded. The other kids know that his feelings get hurt easily and sometimes take advantage of that. We're working on this with him via a special training class for kids.

I'm interested to hear everyone else's experiences.
post #8 of 21
This is really interesting. I had wondered a few times if DD was a HSC, but always figured she wasn't. Now, I'm wondering if DD is and I am, too! DD and I both do well in social situations, but not so much in overwhelming crowds (which, for me, I always wrote off as claustrophobia).

DD (4.5):
* Always wants to wear jammies and comfy clothes. Will about half the time refuse to wear corduroys because she doesn't like the ridges feel. There are other clothes she won't wear because of the feel as well.
* Hates excessive noises. Especially holds her ears for toilets flushing. Also very musically perceptive (I attributed this to her genes... music comes to her from both sides of the family.)
* Incredibly emotional about things large and small, and her emotional state can turn on a dime

Me:
* Also very emotional
* Sensitive to noise... (sheesh, glad I teach teenagers!)
* Sensitive to weird little skin things, like a stray hair caught in the back of my bra strap
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
It's very interesting to me what a wide spectrum there is and how different everyone's sensitivities are. Some are very emotional, some physical...

I'm finding I'm starting to really understand my dd's and that helps me to know how to handle whatever is going on. I really like my space every now and then and need that, where my girls are both very attached to me and need to be right there with me most of the day. The hard part for me is that it means I never get any of the much needed downtime and then start to snap and get angry. My dh is pretty helpful, but we kind of have opposite work schedules half the week so one of us is always with the girls and it's hard to make individual "break" time. So anyone have a good balance of how to meet everyone's needs?
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by floiejo2 View Post
It's very interesting to me what a wide spectrum there is and how different everyone's sensitivities are. Some are very emotional, some physical...

I'm finding I'm starting to really understand my dd's and that helps me to know how to handle whatever is going on. I really like my space every now and then and need that, where my girls are both very attached to me and need to be right there with me most of the day. The hard part for me is that it means I never get any of the much needed downtime and then start to snap and get angry. My dh is pretty helpful, but we kind of have opposite work schedules half the week so one of us is always with the girls and it's hard to make individual "break" time. So anyone have a good balance of how to meet everyone's needs?

I can relate to this, because DH works really long hours, as well as traveling quite a bit. I am on call almost 24/7 most of the time, which is exhausting. However, Dh is really good about making sure he is available to keep the kids at least once in a while so that I can have a nice big block of time for me. Also, I must confess to being a "bad mom"; I frequently put a movie on in the afternoon after the kids have their school work finished (we homeschool) so that I can have some uninterrupted time to catch up on the computer, read a book, take a nap, or whatever. I think it's important to find those moments where you can rejuvenate. Parenting HSC is demanding and draining; if you don't take care of yourself, it's really hard to meet their needs.
post #11 of 21
Both I and my oldest daughter are very sensitive, physically as well and emotionally.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by staceychev View Post
This is really interesting. I had wondered a few times if DD was a HSC, but always figured she wasn't. Now, I'm wondering if DD is and I am, too! DD and I both do well in social situations, but not so much in overwhelming crowds (which, for me, I always wrote off as claustrophobia).

DD (4.5):
* Always wants to wear jammies and comfy clothes. Will about half the time refuse to wear corduroys because she doesn't like the ridges feel. There are other clothes she won't wear because of the feel as well.
* Hates excessive noises. Especially holds her ears for toilets flushing. Also very musically perceptive (I attributed this to her genes... music comes to her from both sides of the family.)
* Incredibly emotional about things large and small, and her emotional state can turn on a dime

Me:
* Also very emotional
* Sensitive to noise... (sheesh, glad I teach teenagers!)
* Sensitive to weird little skin things, like a stray hair caught in the back of my bra strap
Wow, I never thought about the clothing thing. I shed the instant I come home and I have to put on loose, comfy clothes. In turn, I always seem to dress DS in comfy clothing, that's a size up so it doesn't bind. Not that he's ever requested this it's just something I always did.

Also I was thinking about noise. I HATE noise. I like a quiet house. If I listen to music- it's pretty low, and if I'm not watching something specifically, the TV stays off. Growing up it was the opposite. My parents would have all TV's on all the time on different channels and it was just sound everywhere and I felt like I couldn't think.
post #13 of 21
Just zooming in here quickly...I am a HSP, and my two boys are as well. When I found this information I was so happy to understand a bit more of myself, and thankfully my mom just always thought I was "quirky" and didn't make a big deal of it. I couldn't wear certain materials, tags bothered me, certain stores bothered me and my sense of equilibrium I think. There were two food stores I absolutely could not go into with my parents because the smells were so strong, and I was the only one that was bothered. I am still very very sensitive to smells and as I get older, to crowds and noise levels. I cannot watch tv, and have a hard time being around them in general. Oh and the food aversions! I had texture issues that are mostly gone and thankfully the kids don't seem to deal with this...but most of the foods I have an aversion to just aren't in the house.

My boys: the baby screams when I wipe him; I use cloth wipes and warm water. Hates getting dressed. Hates water, the bath. He is very sensitive to crowds and noise also. He is still so little so we'll see but it's blatant to me is an emotionally sensitive guy.

My older boy has the clothing issues, cannot wear anything unless it's just cotton, otherwise it doesn't feel right to him. (I mean, this makes so much sense though, what else should we be putting on his body?) But he could never wear jeans, cords, etc b/c of the feeling. Thankfully we lived in CA at the time. He is very sensitive-intuitive, and picks up emotions, etc. well.

Gotta run, love hearing about this!
post #14 of 21
Cool to read the information here. Both hubby and I are sensitive, but in different areas. Our son is pretty sensitive too, but it doesn't manifest physically as much as emotionally. But he does need to have his socks on straight. I'm the same way, so I assumed it was normal. You mean most people don't care if the seam is touching the bottom of their toes??
However, starting yet another subforum? There are so many here, I'm overwhelmed.
post #15 of 21
I think a little lightbulb has just gone off in my head!! (There's even a smilie for that!)

I've just realised that I am a HSP, and DD most likely is too!

We both have the physical sensitivities - tags and such. I'm also really sensitive to textures, particularly of food. I won't eat some foods because of their textures - DH thinks I'm nutty. I also get driven demented by noise - both DH and DD don't mind having 3 or 4 different 'noisy' things going on at the same time. Right now, for example, the tv is on, DD's cd is playing, DH is watching something on youtube and he and DD are chatting - it makes my head want to explode!

I was very sensitive as a kid - but I put that down to being bullied a lot (I was a gifted kid too, so an easy target). DD seems to be very emotionally sensitive too. If I gently correct her about something - Ouch, pulling my hair hurts - she's quite likely to dissolve into tears. DH thinks she's just trying to deflect attention from whatever it was she did 'wrong' but I think she is really sensitive to criticism/correction.

She also has periods where she'll just announce 'I'm very sad. I need to cry.' And proceed to do so, at length and with great gusto. This is particularly difficult for me to deal with - I'm not sure how to handle it. I usually just tell her that it's okay to feel sad, and she can cry if she wants to. But because of my own sensitivity to noise and emotions I get quite agitated by it, especially when it goes on for half an hour or more, and I find it difficult to keep calm and remain supportive for her. I would take myself away, but she will follow me. She doesn't always want to be held or comforted by me, but she does seem to need me to be close by. Any ideas for dealing with this?

How do you other mamas balance the need to get on with the normality of the day with not down-playing your kids' sensitivities?
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnAir View Post
She also has periods where she'll just announce 'I'm very sad. I need to cry.' And proceed to do so, at length and with great gusto. This is particularly difficult for me to deal with - I'm not sure how to handle it. I usually just tell her that it's okay to feel sad, and she can cry if she wants to. But because of my own sensitivity to noise and emotions I get quite agitated by it, especially when it goes on for half an hour or more, and I find it difficult to keep calm and remain supportive for her. I would take myself away, but she will follow me. She doesn't always want to be held or comforted by me, but she does seem to need me to be close by. Any ideas for dealing with this?

How do you other mamas balance the need to get on with the normality of the day with not down-playing your kids' sensitivities?
I can totally relate to this! When my two HSC have emotional issues, they carry on for what seems like forever! Over time, I've sort of learned to deep breath, relax, and shut it out (sometimes, I even put my hands over my ears for a couple of seconds) so that I don't shut down their emotions. I must admit, that it has taken me a LOOOONG time to get to where I don't just blow up with this, because it truly is overwhelming to me to hear them crying and screaming, even for something truly legitimate like an injury or something (there are times they do that because of fighting or whatever that I don't allow it). I started doing a slow count to 10 in my head before even beginning to try to calm them, because sometimes, they really do just need to cry, and I don't think it's fair to them to shush that need. Usually, by the time I reach 10, they have started to self-calm, and then I can help with it because I'm a bit calmer myself. DH is much better with it, because he is not HS *at all*.

If they truly need to melt down, cry, scream, whatever, and I am not in a position to help them (or just feel like I *can't* deal with it), I will try to calmly say something to the effect of "I can see you need to cry right now. That's ok. Please go sit in your room until you are done. I will come in with you in 5 minutes". And then I do, and we can talk about it. That doesn't happen a whole lot, but it allows the rest of the family to carry on with whatever they are doing without shutting that person out. I don't make them close the door, and there isn't a firm "you MUST stay in your room until I allow you to come out". I figure they know when they are done, and a lot of times, it's before I even make in there. However, I didn't start doing that until my 2 HSC children were at least 5 yrs., because before that, they just seemed to need my presence. Can't figure that out, though, because it has been a long learning curve for me wrt to staying calm and not being overwhelmed by the crying. I guess mama in any condition is better than no mama there at all, lol.

Something that has helped with our HSC is helping them to recognize when they are feeling overwhelmed and about to melt down. We've made it really clear that they can take 5 (or 10, or whatever) by themselves to calm down, so they don't make it to the meltdown threshold. It's not perfect, but it has helped reduce the tantrums and tears tremendously. We are also seeing an OT for some other ideas.

On smells, OH MY! That is huge here! DS1 and DD2 are super sensitive to smells. We've all been known to complain that something stinks, something is burning, not go in a store, complain about the diesel truck in front of us, etc. because of the smell. What's funny, is we 3 are in mortal agony over the smell, and DH barely notices it!

A question: if you have older HSC, how do you handle public things? DS1 (11), slipped on the ice the other day, and was mortified that everyone saw it (we were going into our home school class). He would not allow me to help him, and I know it bothered him that his backside was slightly damp. I usually just offer assistance, and if he refuses, try not to take it personally.
post #17 of 21
My daughter is a sensitive child and so am I.I never gave it a lot of thought as a "condition".I just recognized that she's like me.

She too has times where she just needs to really cry but she doesn't have tantrums.She just wants a snuggle and a cry.I rub her back and tell her to let it out.She's too embarrassed to ask for things out loud even if I'm the only one in the room.She wants to whisper in my ear.Yesterday I encouraged her to just say it out loud to me and it totally stressed her out.

She also is very intuned to other peoples feelings and can't stand for other people to be sad(I can't stand for people to be scared.It really upsets me.)

A lot of shows or movies stress her out.We had to leave when we went to see Bee Movie.She just couldn't handle that they were being mean to that bee.But she has no problem watching things that are a bit scary.

She also needs the sock seam to be just right.I've experienced this before so I'm an expert at getting them on "right"(I took care of a girl who was sensitive).My husband on the other hand doesn't even know what she's talking about.Her sense of smell and taste are extreme.It has taken a LONG time to convince my husband of this."You can't even taste it"being one of his favorite lines.He's really not a jerk,he just doesn't get it.

My daughter can NOT stand for her clothes to be wet.I was traveling with spare clothes way after she was using the potty with no accidents(which she did on her own pretty young because she hated the wet dipe).The bathing suit is a challenge for her.

She hates the feeling of grass on her bare feet.When she was little she treated it like hot lava and wouldn't go in it for anything.

I'm the one who needs the covers to be straight and can't stand certain types of noise.And my mother says the only time I cried when I was a baby was when she tried to get me dressed.

We both loose our minds in places like Target.At 5 yrs old she can deal with it but I was that parent with the screaming 1.5 yr old in the cart that everyone would stare at(sometimes you need to go get some toilette paper).And the thing is she almost never had tantrums otherwise so it was obvious to me it was the environment.

Oh yeah,and she also needs lots and lots of information.Lots!
post #18 of 21
So... question for you sensitive mamas of sensitive children: do you find it difficult to be compassionate to the needs of your sensitive children?

My dad was always less tolerant of my emotional patterns and, well, excessiveness (as was my mom, now that I think about it). Things like "Oh, don't cry, those are alligator tears" or "Suck it up, you'll be fine..." I always swore that I wouldn't be like that with my child. But, I do find myself doing it with Lucy. I don't think it's because a lack of sympathy/empathy for what she's going through, but for what her emotional responses actually do to me. When she's having a melt-down, it makes me insanely uncomfortable and anxious, and all I can think of is to try to get it to stop, and not necessarily for her well-being but for restoring equilibrium to the surrounding environment, and thus to me.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am so with all of you who are also sensitive and having a hard time being sympathetic to your dc's needs because of what it does to you. What a challenge! Here we know exactly how they feel or what they're going through, but it is sooo hard to do what they need because it's hard for us to handle. If anyone has a great idea here, that would be very much appreciated.

I'm struggling right now because we just started homeschooling, in fact, that's how I figured out dd1 was highly sensitive, then dd2 also. But the change has really been an adjustment for her, she took it pretty hard for the first couple weeks. She had been in a 4 day a week pre-K class which was really stressing her out. I didn't put it all together until later, but because she's so sensitive, she was having a pretty hard time at school socially and emotionally. She's pretty bright so she was doing great even above with academics. But now that she's settling into our new schedule and I'm figuring out how she best learns, which is completely different than how I do and what I had planned for us, she's doing better and actually told me yesterday that she really likes homeschooling now. I'm still struggling every day to deal with her issues and figure out how to teach her. I feel completely overwhelmed and like I have very little help or support with this. And I don't know the last time I had some time to myself.

Okay, I'm just starting to go on and on. But any helpful tips would be great!
post #20 of 21

Hi, i have just discovered this thread ... over 3 years after it was started!!! .. i was hoping I could still gain some valuable insights from you all as I have just realised that my son is "highly sensitive" having already known my husband is.  Regarding my son, its a stressful time at the moment regarding his school social environment .... he is extremely bright, well above grade level in all areas, but socially he struggles to make and keep good friends.  He is often excluded from recess games, but still tries to be part of the group. Due to his sensitivities, he tends to "over react" when someone says something nasty or does something he perceives to be wrong, which makes it more challenging for the other kids to understand where he is coming from. In particular, one boy delights in the fact that my son will have this reaction, and continually goads him as he gets the result ... my son retaliates (lately, its been physical) and gets in trouble.  The verbal bully gets the satisfaction all round.  HIs teacher understands HSC and i have given her material to read - we are considering moving him to another class to be away from a few of the kids who seem to be the ones teasing him .... can anyone share their experiences with their HSC in a school setting, particularly when they are being antagonized. Thanks in advance.

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