Picking up the phone, Claudia, a mother said to me: “My daughter is shy and scared. She no longer wants to go to first grade. Can you help?” Of course, I can be of assistance. But she raises a very real dilemma for many parents raising highly sensitive children. That is: What do you do when your child is overwhelmed with fear? I share some tips below that can help in those pressing moments.
Scared of School
So many of our highly sensitive children scare easily and certainly feel fear. And sometimes it overwhelms them so much that life is disrupted like Emily, Claudia’s daughter, who didn’t want to go to school anymore. Or in some of my other child clients their fears have seemed quirky like: Being afraid of people with tattoos (a real challenge in NYC) or thinking that ghosts could come up through the bathroom sink (boy didn’t pee alone!). So when your kids are scared be sure to help them:
Said differently: Your kids need their feelings validated and they need to co-create solutions with you to move beyond their fear. One way to think of healthy fear is that it just signals you’ve never done this before like Emily going to first grade.
Said differently: Your kids need you to love them, and gently guide them toward seeing their situation differently. One way to do this is share real-life stories from your life where you successfully faced a fear.
Being able to gently guide your sensitive children from fear to faith is essential. They are very sensitive to input (for example, sound, lights, words people say, energy) and need to develop a true belief that they are safe. When something disrupts their feeling of being safe such as if they were teased, or overwhelmed by loud noises they need to be soothed. They need to be listened to, comforted, shown how to self-soothe and then move forward either going back to school like Emily or create another solution.
One of the longer term solutions is to find them a mentor. In my new book, The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids, I go into how helpful it is for sensitive children to get a mentor who has similar sensitivities and can guide them in learning how to successfully manage them. In this situation with Emily, I basically served as her mentor – older HSP, and helped validate her experience as well as give her tips on how to manage in this sometimes not-so-sensitive world.
By Maureen Dawn Healy
Maureen Dawn Healy is a popular author, speaker and counselor working with parents and children globally. Her expertise is helping highly sensitive children and their parents. Maureen’s latest book is: The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids (New Page). You can learn more about Maureen or connect with her at: www.growinghappykids.com or www.twitter.com/mdhealy