"Highly sensitive" kids?
  • tothemoonandbacktothemoonandback
    Posts: 3,934Member
    Jameson has always been difficult (I hate that word, but it's true), ever since the day he was born he has been highly sensitive and it's not changing.. so I'm wondering if any of you fabulous mamas out there have been through it and if you adapted your parenting to it?

    He is three now.  We've never had full on tantrums, but he is SO sensitive (emotionally mostly).  I keep blaming it on "oh he must just be really tired/hungry" even when he's had a great night sleep, eaten well etc.  

    While on one hand I adore that he feels so deeply, it's also really well, annoying.  The smallest things break his heart. New experiences/places while exciting at first, cause him to withdraw and want to 'go home'.  He adapts well, sometimes but most of the time it's a chore.  He's started expressing anger at himself, shame, embarrassment, and it breaks my heart.  Everyone who cares for him (husband, grandparents) are well aware of his temperament and try their best to work with it.  I'm scared for him to finally go out in the world and experience TRUE frustration, hurt, unfairness.  I wish he was more laid back and carefree.

    Example, we go to a super fun park (he would be a homebody all day every day if I let him) yesterday, he plays for a few minutes, steps off something 'wrong' (didn't hurt himself or anything) and starts crying "I didn't want to step off like that!!!! I want to go home!!".  No amount of distraction would fix it, he was done.  He is like this with food, clothes, interactions with other kids, adults.  My inlaws have dubbed him the Master Drama King, and I totally agree.

    On the positive side of it, his positive emotions are deep, his love is deep, his joy and excitement can be off the charts.  He is incredibly intuitive, grateful, and thoughtful.  Those things I adore.

    Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. - Marilyn Monroe
  • missmama5missmama5
    Posts: 6,874Member
    I don't know about insight but my son is like that. He's six. He's always been really super sensitive but its gotten a ton better since he's gotten older, it was the worst when he was about 4 or 5. I did adjust my parenting to it I guess, but I still tried to be firm when I needed to be even though it was hard because he would make such a big deal of everything.
  • Lakegirl34
    Posts: 2,814Member
    I was like that as a kid and still am as an adult at times. The problem for me was I was hit and shamed for having what I call now "big feelings" and never learned healthy ways to manage/coping skills until adulthood which taught me all kids of negative ways to numb out.
    I think you're doing the right things. Empathy when's raving when out somewhere, and at home help him name the feeling, teach him breathing exercises, maybe a security item to have with him in public. It's about learning frustration tolerance and personality plays a role but so does learning skills. It really is a gift and a curse. If you can get him interested in writing, art, or music they are great outlets too.
  • katz_meowkatz_meow
    Posts: 6,380Member
    My son is rather sensitive as well. Maybe not quite to that point, but still...can be a bit annoying. He was worse when he was younger. He's 11 now. So maybe things with Jameson will improve with age?

    There is nothing to be gained from treating others poorly.

    Don't be a dick.
  • undercoverbanana
    Posts: 12,609Member
    my dd was really sensitive and a perfectionist. Also, incredibly self conscious. Tell him to give himself a do over. Its n.ot a one time thing, you'll have to say it a million times. And remind him that nobody else thinks he did something "wrong", and to give himself a break. Remind him that he wouldn't judge other people like that, so he shouldn't judge himself that way. ....that being said, its NOT an easy fix. He needs a confidence builder, and that will help him not be so self conscious.
    i'm nekkid.
  • GingersnapGingersnap
    Posts: 9,696Member
    The following is just a bit of observation/experience, I'm not trying to armchair diagnose your kid. 

    My bestie's son is rather like this. He's older, 8, and it was impacting his ability to learn in a classroom environment. He was also made a target by bullies. His mom and dad had him evaluated to try to figure out what's going on. His parents are really good people and I *highly* doubt that abuse is an issue. His mom is an experienced social worker and his dad has been an elementary school teacher for years, so they have some knowledge going into this. They were puzzled as to why their otherwise bright child was struggling at school. Turns out: anxiety. I don't know what tools they've employed, but I know that the kid has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. He's doing better at his academics, especially since he leaves the general classroom which is overwhelming for him. Not only was he worried about his own performance, but also when other kids weren't doing things "right" or following rules. 
    “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” ― Joseph Campbell
  • KellynnKellynn
    Posts: 2,284Member
    I, too, don't want to armchair diagnose, but it does sound like either anxiety or Aspergers. I know there will be people who say you can't diagnose at such a young age, but you can research and find strategies to employ in the meantime. You can help him lessen the fear, if you know how. Good luck, mama, I for one know how hard and scary it is.
  • eappleeapple
    Posts: 1,997Member
    I share the same feelings and experiences as @lakegirl34 I have always been highly sensitive and highly emotional, it's a tough combo because little things get under my skin (highly sensitive) and they are a way bigger deal to me than most (highly emotional) I also suffer from anxiety :s

    I lived with it my whole life and was never showed how to cope so I literally cried every night before bed before I met dan. Not necessarily because something happened but because I needed that emotional release, daily... After meeting dan I realized there is a better way! A more relaxed and easy going way to live life and not let my emotions rule me.

    I have been seeing a biofeedback therapist which has helped tremendously. I can now choose how I react to a feeling rather than letting the feelings control how I react, most of the time at least. It is such a beautiful, empowering, incredible feeling to be able to think about how I want things to work out and act a certain way to achieve that outcome.

    Lily is very emotional and I have been trying to find ways to teach a 3 year old to cope. They don't always work but sometimes they do and that's a win to me. When lily isn't upset I have started including her in my meditation and she's learning long deep breathing. I never ask her to meditate when she is upset but I do suggest deep breaths. We also do 123 magic and that has worked very well for us.

    In the situation with Jameson at the play place I would have told lily "mommy isn't done playing, if you're done that is ok but you have to sit here quietly while mommy finishes playing" then I would go play on te equipment. Either lily will sit there and eventually come play or she will continue with her fit and I will play for long enough for her to see that she needs to compromise and make good choices.

    I'm hoping it gets easier for her because trying to rewire your brain at 25 is very difficult.

    If you aren't concerned about his development I wouldn't put a lable on his personality. Lily is kind, loving, independent, plays well with others, shows compassion and deep love. She just feels with every bit of herself and I have no desire to "diagnose" that.
    And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~Nietzsche
  • Katescrazymom
    Posts: 2,839Member

    My mom, one sister, dd and I are like this.  Maybe not enough to be "clinically" diagnosed, but definate tendancies.  I did a quiz for dd, and aside from 2 questions that weren't age appropriate, the only sign she didn't have was sensitivity to clothes.  She prefers soft clothes over jeans, but isn't fussy about socks or anything, and will wear her plastic dress up shoes until she gets a blister (girly!) It gets better with age. 

    With dd I feel like I have to be super vigilant about her feelings getting hurt, and I've tried to eliminate 'perfect' from our vocabularies.  I point out my mistakes and laugh at them, and tell her that's one way we learn. I try to get her to talk about everything she feels.

    She can be very hard to get to leave the house, because then she has so many new things to process.

    I've encouraged her to take deep breaths, and count to calm herself.  I also have a few little songs, and I get her to think of them, or sing or hum them, to give herself time to think.  I know when I'm stressed, I retreat, so if we're going somewhere stressful, I'll bring something for her to focus on, like her leap pad, a book, or give her my phone to play with. 

    She is amazingly observent and perceptive, and I'm going to do my best to teach her to keep those qualities while learning to look at things objectively before she lets things get to her (to much). 

  • tothemoonandbacktothemoonandback
    Posts: 3,934Member
    Thank you so much ladies.. great tips and it's great to know he's not the only one like this!  I have really been working with him on expressing his negative emotions in a more calm way, talking about them, laughing at silly mistakes (and my own).  I definitely don't want him to lose some of it, but to learn that not everything is so darn devastating as he's apparently feeling it. Thank you!!!
    Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. - Marilyn Monroe
  • DebbiedeeDebbiedee
    Posts: 17Member
    Having been through this with one of my kids. What I would do with my daughter in your example of stepping of something wrong. I would say, how did you do that? Then I would step on what she did and make myself stumble too. Than look at her and say, wow I know what you mean. Guess know body is perfect. Get them to be able to laugh and take things lighter.
  • junglezoo
    Posts: 249Member
    My nephew is like this too. My sister who is a teacher knew there was something 'off' from when he was around 2.5 (he is 6 now). She took him to play therapy with specialists and naturalpaths to balance hormones. Now that he is older it's getting better but like a lot of op he has anxiety too.
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  • TheHeadacheslayer
    Posts: 2,472Member
    @tothemoonandback oh darlin, I know EXACTLY how you feel! DS has always been that way!!

    One book I found EXCEEDINGLY helpful is Dr. Sears book "The High Needs/Fussy Baby" book. You will swear he wrote it while peeking in your house! It goes up thru age 5. I never would have survived without this.

    Kids who are gifted can be emotionally intense--which is my DS to a T. 

    Short on time, but feel free to message me more!! xoxo
  • DaBOMB
    Posts: 284Member

    I think a lot of it is the age.  There's a lot going on.  Recently or newly potty training, new foods, more independence/distance from Mom & Dad.  The world is a scary place.  My son is 11 and for a long time I worried about how fearful he was.  I tried to down play it but it didn't work.  So instead of battling over if he would try the slide, I told him he didn't have to.  And I just let him do what he wanted to do at the park.  Which was mostly just watch the other kids.  He was the same way at daycare.  We kept going to the park and to do other things but mostly he just sat and watched.  One day he decided to give it a try I guess.  He had just turned 5.  Nothing horrible happened and he's been less reserved ever since.  But he's a look before he leaps kid.  And that's ok.  Not at all suggesting that you shouldn't "do" something if you feel like you should.  But maybe just try and let him dictate his path?  And then be there to pick him up when he finally does allow himself to stumble?  Or I could be completely wrong.  Shoot... I'm no expert.  I hope it works out for the best!