Sensitive 3 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 01-16-2013, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a 3 1/2 year old son and a baby coming any day. My son is pretty sensitive, and sometimes when I discipline him he cries. Example. We were trying to leave a friends today after a great play date. He didn't want to leave (over tired, over hungry, which I didn't do a good job of avoiding) and he tried to kick me. I removed him from the situation and calmly told him that "Your upset. You don't want to leave, but kicking is not ok".  He started crying super hard. He told me he was sad and that I hurt his feelings.

What do you do? How do I respond. I think his emotional "IQ" is high and he's able to tap into this and express himself well for a 3 1/2 year old. But sometimes I wonder if he's just playing me? I want to be respectful that he doesn't like it when I'm disapointed, but when he acts poorly I have to convey disapointment right?

He normally is a super great kiddo and listens really well. His sensitivity encourages him to comply, but theres always times. :)

I'd like to be able to help him more with his emotions and disapointment especially with new babe on the way. I know there will be lots of moments of his feelings being hurt, and i want to be able to respond compassionately.

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#2 of 3 Old 01-17-2013, 06:38 AM
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Hi Rocknmama:


I think you did a wonderful job of responding to him.  You acknowledged his upsetness and let him know of your feelings. Try not to worry about his sensitivity. Emotional intelligence is the child's ability to recognize emotions in themselves and others and being that your son is super sensitive, he has that gift.  It will serve him well later in life, especially when he picks up emotions from his future life partner!  Until then, keep doing what you are doing - use the feeling word vocabulary - upset, frustrated, sad, happy, etc., and acknowledge when you see strong emotions in him.  Add a hug and make sure he is rested and fed, which helps with emotion fluctuations. Tell him how you feel.  When you phrase it in terms of "I feel...", you take ownership of your feelings and he is not to blame for them.  You may have to point that out to him as he gets older.  Everyone owns their feelings and has the right to express them.  Even mommies!


Best wishes,


Judy Arnall
Author of "Discipline Without Distress", President of Attachment Parenting Canada, and Best of all, Mom of Three Adults and Two Teens!

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#3 of 3 Old 01-20-2013, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. We've been working hard on keeping him well fed and also watching our stimulation for the day.

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