A highly sensitive child [HSC] is one of the fifteen to twenty percent of children born with a nervous system that is highly aware and quick to react to everything. This makes them quick to grasp subtle changes, prefer to reflect deeply before acting, and generally behave conscientiously. They are also easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation, sudden changes, and the emotional distress of others (Aron, 2018).
The statistics regarding HSC are that they make up about fifteen to twenty percent of the population affecting girls and boys at similar rates. When parents hear the term HSC or highly sensitive child, they often think the worst or worry about the future it might bring for their child. While it’s natural to be concerned regarding your child’s wellbeing. You can help them validate their experiences by giving them a nurturing and supportive space. A deeper understanding of HSCs and their traits can allow you to become aware, enabling you to support your child in a helpful way.
Children who are Highly Sensitive thrive in supportive environments. Here are some key elements to supporting our children:
1. They can feel overwhelmed by sensory experiences, including smell, sounds, tastes, textures and light. Often highly sensitive children experience sensory input more intensely than the rest. For instance, they are more attuned to changes in temperature, environmental shifts, or smells in a room.
2. Highly Sensitive children are far more aware of changes in their environment; for instance, they are aware of shifts in facial expressions, body language and mood.
3. Other people’s emotions impact them
4. They have high empathy for other people.
5. Highly sensitive children experience anxiety related to new situations. They also tend to be cautious, especially in new surroundings -making them appear shy. They are known to be introspective beings.
6. Highly Sensitive children have a tendency toward perfectionism, and losing for them can be very hard. They are prone to feeling shame and failure more easily, making it hard for them to experience a situation where they experience a loss of control.
Parenting a highly sensitive child does not have to be daunting. Raising Highly Sensitive Children can be a HIGHLY rewarding experience, primarily because of their empathy and perceptiveness.
If you want to learn more, the Institute of Child Psychology is here to help you with concrete, research-backed strategies that can be implemented immediately at home or in the classroom.