Highly Sensitive Children are Masters at Magnifying the Negatives 

Has your highly sensitive child (HSC) ever uttered “This is the worst day of my life – EVER!”? And it seems like they actually make that statement regularly? Your child is not the only one. When things feel bad for a HSC they feel really really bad.

Highly Sensitive Children are Masters at Magnifying the Negatives 

HSCs are masters at magnifying the negatives. Parenting a highly sensitive child (HSC) can feel a little like hanging out with a child with a powerful magnifying glass – one little incident is made so big – and can seemingly make or break a HSC’s day.

So, how can you help your child when negativity takes over? As parents, it is vital to highlight the positives. We need to help our children turn it around and focus on the good in their day.

Help Your Child Identify the Source of their Negative Feeling

Encourage your child to talk about their feelings. Ask open ended questions. Listen actively. Sum up what you hear. Help your child get to the core of how they are feeling. Then you can get to the why.

By getting them to talk about what is niggling at them you can help them identify exactly what they feel (see below). That cloudy feeling of ‘something is wrong’ becomes more specific and a child can move on and begin to process whatever it is that has happened.

With your help older children will be able to reach the conclusion themselves that their day (or an incident) wasn’t actually as bad as they instinctively thought. They will be able to identify the source of their negative feeling and deal with it.

So firstly help them identify the source of their negative feeling.

Talk About and Identify Emotions

Once you have been able to determine the source of a negative feeling you can help your child to identify the emotion attached to that incident.

Emotions are unconscious reactions to a situation or thoughts (which highly sensitive people have a lot of) and we don’t have control over our emotions (only how we display them).

These emotions translate into our feelings, which are conscious displays. Helping a child learn how to express their emotions and let you know what they are feeling from a young age will help as they grow older.

Often a child has a feeling that everything is awful. Once you pinpoint the source of a negative feeling it may be clear that your HSC feels embarrassed about an incident in school. They may be angry with themselves for not studying hard enough for a test. They may be scared about something they saw happen on the school playground. They may feel guilty because of the manner in which a teacher dealt with an incident. It could be worry because a friend hurt herself.

One you know what a child feels, and why you can help them to process the incident, file it away as a learning experience, or find a solution.

Help them identify the emotion attached to the negative feeling.

Consider What Role Tiredness is Playing

Be aware that a HSC that is tired, overstimulated or overaroused (in other words a HSC that is carrying around a full bucket) is more likely to experience stronger emotional reactions to situations – especially negative reactions.

We’ve experienced this first hand in our home during the last few weeks in the aftermath of birthday celebrations. Luckily my eldest has reached an age where he can realise himself that his tiredness plays a huge role in how he feels about his day and he can be talked around.

With younger children that is more difficult so keeping an eye out for signs of tiredness and getting them to bed before they fall into a negative circle is a good idea.

If tiredness is playing a big role in your child’s negative feeling then hear them out but suggest you resume talking about it once they have slept a night. The old adage it will all seem better in the morning is often true…..

If you notice that your child is overstimulated try activities that you know calm them before starting up a conversation about why their day has been so ‘bad’.

Listen to the Negatives But Focus on the Positives

Of course you should give your HSC a platform to talk and actively listen to them but if they are looking at an issue through a magnifying glass then turn the discussion around and ask about other things that happened that day – the fun things, things that have made them smile or laugh, the best thing that happened. However you phrase it, turn their mind to something good. Help them realise that their day has not been all bad.

I asked my son to give his week a score out of ten, ten being a fabulous week and one being the pits. He was fed up after his day in school, which he felt hadn’t been great and he said 6.

“But you’ve had your birthday party this week and two playdates! Were they not fun?” I asked.

He paused and thought and suddenly smiled.

“Actually it has been a good week! I give my week an eight,” he said.

A Helpful Tool: Positive Thoughts

One of the things that has worked well with my son is the idea of ‘positive thoughts’. He has two posted on his bedroom wall which he sees when he wakes up. They remind him to think about the day as a new start, a new chance to have a great day, instead of dwelling on the negative things from the day before.

When he’s facing a challenge he now states, “It’s difficult, but I’m going to do it anyway.”

Mindset plays a huge role in how we feel.

TIP: You can download the Happy Sensitive Kids positive thoughts sheet here. Print them out, cut them out, colour them in, laminate them and hang the thoughts that your child can relate to in a prominent place.

Magnify the positives.

Highly Sensitive Children are Masters at Magnifying the Negatives 

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Book Review: Made By Raffi

‘Made by Raffi’ is a superb children’s book about tearing down gender stereotypes and highlighting the beauty and talent of sensitive quiet children.

Made by Raffi Book Cover

Raffi doesn’t like the hustle and bustle of the school playground at break time and instead he seeks out a quiet place to sit. (Sound like anyone you know? This fact alone made my heart swell a little).

One day he sees his teacher knitting; she shows him how to do it and he gets hooked. He takes the rainbow scarf he is knitting for his father everywhere he goes, even on the school bus despite the taunts from other children about his ‘girly’ hobby.

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Before long Raffi’s classmates discover just how talented he is when he surprises them all for a class play……..

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This story is a lovely themed story which tackles gender stereotypes head on and encourages children to follow their own heart and passions. Raffi is a fabulous role model for the creatives to let their talents guide them, and ignore others who tell them what they ‘should’ be interested in because of their gender.

It particularly appeals to me because I am a knitter and I have taught my eldest son to knit, an activity that turns out to be a great bucket emptier (as is finger knitting). My 6 year old has also recently taken an interest and successfully knitted a scarf for his cuddly monkey, much to his delight. So certainly in our house boys holding knitting needles is a normal sight. And so it should be. And it should also be said that my eldest sews better than I do……

Too often we read about gender stereotyping when it comes to girl’s toys but boys also suffer from the same dismissive attitudes. And it needs to change. There is no toy or activity that should be labelled for girls, and the same applies to girls playing with ‘boy’s toys’.

The writer, Craig Pomranz, uses the word tomgirl in this book, a word that made me smile. I applaud any writer who knocks gender cliches on their head! And in writing ‘Made by Raffi’, Pomranz has done a wonderful job.

He was inspired to write this book by a true life incident and he says:

“I wrote the book to support young boys and girls who are perceived as “different” because of their appearance or hobbies. It is a funny colorful book with a serious message and will interest those who care about promoting diversity and embracing our differences, as well as all children seeking to fit in.” Craig Pomranz

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Made by Raffi is available in 11 countries in 8 different languages: English, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch.

There’s also an accompanying song which composers Amanda McBroom (Bette Midler’s “The Rose”) and Michele Brourman (The Land Before Time) have written. You can find the song here: Different.

You can get your own copy from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com or from bol.com.

You can find out more on the Made by Raffi Facebook page or follow along on Twitter.

*I was given a free copy of ‘Made by Raffi’ for review purposes. All views and enthusiasm are my own.*
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Helping a Highly Sensitive Child with Their Worries with a Monster Headband

Take the fears and worries of your highly sensitive child (HSC) seriously. They think deeply. They don’t just read about a monster; they picture it in full technicolour and imagine what such a monster could do to them with those teeth and those claws and how their roar would sound. Their worries about their day become huge to them, particularly at bedtime.

Saylee, mother of an almost nine year old HSC, not only respects her daughter’s worries but has come up with a tool to help her with them at bedtime – a monster head band.

Helping a Highly Sensitive Child with Their Fears: Monster Headband

What’s the Purpose of a Monster Headband?

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The Perfect School for a Highly Sensitive Child

Schooling is an issue for many a highly sensitive child (HSC). Traditional schools often fall short of meeting the needs of a HSC either because of space limitations, overcrowding or lack of money and understanding. So what would a perfect school for a HSC look like? I asked parents raising HSCs for their views.

The Perfect School for a Highly Sensitive ChildTeachers

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The Mystery of Parenting 

My eldest turned 10 this week and it dawned on me that I have now been parenting for a decade….. You’d think it would get easier right? Wrong.

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How to Help a Highly Sensitive Child After School

Parents of highly sensitive children are no strangers to after school meltdowns. It’s common amongst highly sensitive children (HSC). Are you are one of those parents who regularly have to pick your young child off the ground on the school playground, or know what it’s like to hear the slam of a door once your child gets home from school? You are not alone, I promise you.

How to Help a Highly Sensitive Child After SchoolWhy Does a HSC Struggle After School?

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When Our Quiet Children Get Lost in the Noise of Their Classrooms

How much noise can you work in?

As a general rule I write in silence. I find it impossible to pour my thoughts out onto paper surrounded by noise, not even soft music playing in the background. Life would certainly be easier if my pen and I could function harmoniously whilst the noise of the world carried on around me but the reality is that noise distracts me, takes my mind off my work. I need quiet for my thoughts to flow and peace to write them down.

“There’s a well-known study in psychology by a guy named Russell Geen. He gave learning tasks to kids to solve, with varying levels of background noise. He found that the extroverts did best when the noise was louder, and the introverts did best when the noise was softer.” Susan Cain: How to Teach a Young Introvert

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