Kids With These 10 Habits Have ‘Highly Sensitive’ Brains—Why Parenting Experts Say it is Very Good
Parents often unintentionally give their children the impression that there’s something wrong with them.
This is a common experience among the highly sensitive children we study in our research on parenting. Many parents see sensitivity negatively, believing that it gives the impression that we are weak, overwhelmed, or passive. Or “Just get over it!”
However, researchers in psychology and neuroscience have discovered that highly sensitive children can reap significant benefits from a supportive educational setting.
The Benefit of Empathy for Highly Sensitive Brains Children
Highly sensitive brains children have an undervalued trait: kindness, in addition to their heightened levels of creativity, awareness, and openness.
Participants in one study were shown pictures of happy and sad faces. Researchers discovered highly sensitive individuals’ brains had the most robust empathy response.
The regions of their brains responsible for action planning also become more active. If someone is as sensitive as they say they are, they would feel an overwhelming urge to aid a stranger in distress.
Sensitive children benefit more from encouragement, training, and support than their non-sensitive classmates because they are more profoundly impacted by their experiences. Because of this incentive, they tend to excel.
Is Your Kid Particularly Perceptive?
According to psychologist Elaine Aron, who coined the phrase, one in five children is highly sensitive.
Some of the Most Typical Symptoms Include:
1. Their Emotions Swing Wildly.
Children with highly sensitive have different neural wiring that causes them to register their emotions and experiences more. Many parents of high schoolers utilize extremes to describe their kids’ emotions, using things like “slaughterhouse yells” to express their kids’ anger.
They are always on edge, saying things like, “I NEVER get to sit on mommy’s lap,” when that youngster sits there nine times out of ten, while his more laid-back sister is content to watch from the sidelines.
2. Their Responses to Stimuli are More Pronounced.
Highly sensitive children are likelier to be overly reactive to sensory stimuli. Their senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and/or touch are heightened. Kids could develop a fear of public restrooms if the flusher is too abrupt and noisy for them. Foods with strong flavors and aromas may be rejected.
They might have a tantrum if they can’t have their preferred pair of sweatpants. They pay a lot of attention to how things look and experience anxiety when those looks are disrupted.
For instance, one of the little girls I’m currently dealing with is adamant that her mother never uses a hair clip and instead always wears her hair down. They report being overwhelmed by sensations they have little control over, which might increase the intensity of their emotional responses.
3. They Tend to Have More Emotional Breakdowns.
Children with highly sensitive are more easily stressed out because of their heightened sensitivity. Meltdowns increase in frequency and intensity as they become increasingly overwhelmed by their huge feelings and exaggerated reactions to sensory input.
4. They Have Extraordinary Receptivity to External Stimuli.
Children raised in highly sensitive are “processors” with constantly active minds. They look at everything with a critical eye. “The second the tone changes between me and Mitchell (my husband), Sasha senses and tries to intervene,” says one parent. She steps in the middle of us and says, “Cease this immediately!” Quit it already! “Daddy, you should go give mommy a kiss.”
It’s as if they lack a moral compass. This makes them highly perceptive and kind. Yet, this also makes it more likely that kids will become overwhelmed by too much information at once.
5. They are More Stiff and Inflexible Because of Their Increased Demand for Control.
High school students create rigid beliefs and expectations about how things should be to make life more manageable in an otherwise overwhelming world. Children with highly sensitive may resort to seemingly irrational coping techniques.
Such as dictating where others will sit, how they will wear their hair, what color bowl their cereal should arrive in, what dresses, clothes, fashion, and other things of personal use even coronary or how close the chicken should be to the carrots on their dinner plate. As children internalize a lack of control, their behavior becomes increasingly authoritarian.
6. They Become More Wary and Cautious When Placed in Unfamiliar Situations.
High schoolers’ brains constantly process new information whenever they experience something novel, be it a classroom, a birthday celebration, or a swim lesson. They are mystified by their surroundings.
Where do we go from here?
Who are they, exactly?
Where do I stand with them?
What do you think of me?
Can I feel secure?
Will I perform adequately in my current role?
High school students are very intelligent and perceptive because they constantly analyze their surroundings. Yet, it may also cause individuals to feel overwhelmed and anxious, especially in novel situations.
They maintain stability by steadfastly refusing to branch out of their familiar routine. Kids have a more difficult time learning to be independent of their parents. As they start nursery or preschool, they have a harder time adjusting. They’ve always loved sports like football and swimming but refuse to participate.
7. They Are Less Tolerant of Frustration Overall.
When faced with a difficult assignment, highly sensitive children are more likely to become distressed and give up. They can’t stand the discomfort we all feel while practicing but still haven’t mastered a new ability.
This makes it difficult for kids to persevere through challenges, such as those that arise while learning to ride a bike or constructing a tower out of blocks without it toppling over.
8. They Tend Towards Perfectionism and Have a Tough Time Accepting Defeat.
Highly sensitive children (HS) often strive for perfection. They feel a loss of control, which is highly uncomfortable and difficult to bear, whenever they cannot perform an action exactly the way their brain is instructing them to. Also, because they are more sensitive to shame and feelings of “failure,” high school students have a much more difficult time dealing with defeat.
9. They Tend to be Defensive When Challenged.
Even reasonable requests are taken as personal attacks rather than constructive advice. They could react to embarrassment by laughing, avoiding eye contact, becoming furious, or fleeing. These examples of coping methods might help you weather a storm of challenging feelings.
10. Sensitive and Self-Aware, They Take Slights More to Heart.
High schoolers often worry too much about what other people think of them. When the focus is on them, even when adults are being positive, they become self-conscious. People are easily hurt when they feel judged or analyzed.
That’s why, odd as it may sound, they have difficulty accepting compliments. They see the pressure as a sign that they are being evaluated and adjust their behavior accordingly. High schoolers are more likely to take things personally.
They have a propensity for misreading social cues from others. They interpret events through a victim lens as if they were emotionally prepared to be wounded at any moment. This can make interacting with other children, including siblings, difficult.
Strategies For Fostering Success in Sensitive Children
1. Clarify What is Expected of You in Advance.
Setting expectations provides highly sensitive children the time to process the situation and the freedom to decide based on knowing the benefits and the costs of failing to meet those expectations.
The phrase “today we’re seeing granny at the nursing home” will do the trick. Several of the folks there aren’t feeling well, so we should keep our voices down and keep our cool.
2. Gently Reprimand Misbehavior.
Highly Sensitive children are more vulnerable to feeling wounded and taking criticism personally.
If your child has difficulties controlling their emotions, try setting up a calm-down area with objects like cuddly animals and a weighted blanket instead of placing them in time-out.
When administering discipline, you must tell your child how much you love and affirm them.
3. Become Their Inspirational Guide.
By showing your children how you deal with your own difficult emotions, such as work stress or your child’s tantrums, you are already teaching them valuable life lessons.
The better of an example you can be in this regard, the more deliberate you should be.
4. Promote Their Cause.
You should inform your child’s instructors of their sensitivity at the beginning of the school year before any problems or misunderstandings arise.
Express your love and affection towards your child and how proud you are of them when they use their sensitivity (for example, when they use their imagination or exhibit empathy for a buddy going through a bad period).
5. Explore Their Culture With an Open Mind.
Try to spend time with them individually, apart from their siblings.
Use free-form queries. What did you find challenging today, for instance? Greater conversational space than “Did you have a rough day?”
Learn as much as possible about your child’s physical and sensory experiences. Their responses could shock you.
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