By Anita Ness, Founder of EMBRACE Calmer Kids
Does your child react more intensely than other children?
Do they feel things more deeply?
Does your child react strongly to criticism?
Do they seem to get overwhelmed easily?
Is your child's reaction to bright lights, smells or loud noises quite intense?
Does your child complain about scratchy clothing, seams in socks, or labels against their skin?
Your child may be an HSC (Highly Sensitive Child). The highly sensitive temperament has many strengths that come alongside the various challenges.
Being an HSC is part of their genetic makeup, it's not something that can be switched off, nor would you want to. HSCs tend to be very caring, empathetic, creative, conscientious and courageous children, and have the potential to be great leaders. They are not weak, They are warriors.
Dr. Elaine Aron is the leading expert in High Sensitivity. She started researching the trait in 1991, and has created many books, movies and talks to help others understand the many aspects of this temperament. Dr Elaine Aron has discovered that there is great personal benefit for an HSC to learn about their special trait.
If your child is highly sensitive, you might find the abbreviated points below from Dr. Elaine Aron’s website helpful:
This trait is normal, it is found in 15 to 20% of people
It is innate, your child instinctively observes before acting
Your child is more aware of subtleties than other children, because their brain processes and reflects on information more deeply
Your child may be more easily overwhelmed. If they are noticing everything, they are going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, or chaotic
This trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSCs prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called 'shy'. But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSCs are extroverts, although the trait is often mislabelled as introversion
Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. In cultures where it is not valued, HSCs tend to have lower self-esteem. They may be told 'don’t be so sensitive', so they may not feel like they fit in
Please know that if you are the parent of an HSC or you are an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) yourself, you are not alone. There are tens of thousands of people with the same sensitivities and strengths.
Having a soft Heart in a cruel world is Courage not weakness.
I truly believe that Highly Sensitive Children are warriors of the highest level.
Don't let your child's Sensitivity be a struggle...
Embrace it for the Super Power it is!
It is absolutely critical for good mental health, especially for an HSC to be Self-Compassionate rather than self-critical.
GoZen (one of my all-time favourite sites for anxiety programs and resources) recently started a FB group GoZen: Anxiety Relief for Children offering free resources. And this week Renee has created a FREE Self-Compassion journal. You just need to go to https://gozen.com/printables to start receiving the goodness.
I hope this is helpful to the beautiful HSC and HSP community out there.
Stay safe and well, with warmest wishes
Founder of EMBRACE Calmer Kids