I am one of the most sensitive beings on Earth – and I know it.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme
One mom recently said to me, “I don’t want my son’s sensitivity to be stuck in his personality” and I get it. Sensitivity isn’t always easy. Of course, it’s also not like sprinkles on ice cream that you can either have or not have --- it is inherent to your child’s nature. The bigger (and better) questions to ask are: How can I help my highly sensitive son succeed? What does he need to learn? Can I do something today? Before I begin I want to elaborate on the complexity of highly sensitive boys, too.
Boys are Different
Highly sensitive boys (prior PT blog, click here) may not want to talk about their sensitivity, or go around saying they are highly sensitive. They want to be strong on the outside yet inside they feel things so deeply --- words hurt them, violent images upset them, and they know that they aren’t like the other kids. Perhaps they’d rather play with teddy bears at age twelve versus football in the field.
So my recommendation isn't going directly at highly sensitive boys, and saying, “You are sensitive. I need to help you." What they do need is to make other like-minded friends (other sensitive boys), and learn how to manage their emotions while developing their unique skillset (i.e. acting like Neil Patrick Harris, or martial arts like Jean-Claude Van Damme) so they can find their place in the world.
Going back to my earlier questions, I’ll get you started in the “right” direction at starting to answer those questions about your highly sensitive son. Please note that this is a short article and of course, I can go into more depth in a talk or personal consultation. But here we go:
- How can I help my son succeed? Of course, this is a complex question but for brevity’s sake let me share two suggestions: You need to make sure he’s got a like-minded friend (another sensitive boy), and also a mentor (someone besides his parents). The truth is that high sensitivity can be a liability unless you learn how to be the alchemist of your own life. With that said, I have started a mentoring program for HSC but it can be my program or something else – the point is to connect your child to someone who has learned how to be successful with their highly sensitive nature in a sometimes not-so sensitive world.
- What does he need to learn? This is a big one. And frankly, every child is different but highly sensitive boys in general need to learn: How to manage their emotions, handle their intensity and ultimately make better choices. Oftentimes highly sensitive children are very impulsive because they are letting their “right brains” lead without assistance from their “left brains” (logic, reason) and before they know it they hit a sibling or sassed you back.
- Can I do something today? Yes. Set the intention to embrace your son’s sensitivity as a good thing and connect him to people who can help him (or learn yourself, and commit to growing together). What I know for sure is that sensitivity was intended as a gift to your child and with guidance he can learn how to make it so.
© Maureen Dawn Healy
Maureen Healy is an award-winning author, popular speaker and professional working with parents and their highly sensitive children. Her books include: Growing Happy Kids (2012) and The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids (2013). In November, she’s also releasing a new e-book titled “Playbook for Parents” about how to help highly sensitive children thrive.
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