Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sensitive Children

I am quite certain that nearly every parent (especially white, college-educated parents) believe their child is gifted; so it should come as no surprise to learn that the other day I was reading a website about activities for gifted children. Actually, I stumbled upon the site when I did a search for craft projects and I started reading. One of the article I read was about how many children who are considered gifted are often highly sensitive. All I could think was, "Clearly this was written about little j."

I did a little poking around and found a book by Elaine Aron, The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them. It sounds, perhaps, like I am overreacting to normal behavior, but after doing the questionnaire, I'm feel fairly certain that this explains some of her behavior. For example, she is very sensitive about clothing (e.g., the seams in socks bother her and if there is a seam that rubs her slightly wrong she absolutely has to change). Also, she is incredibly sensitive toward other peoples' feelings and the unjust treatment of others.

It's quite possible that I am projecting because I consider myself highly sensitive, but I really don't think I'm that far off the mark with little j. As I wrote in my Random Thoughts, little j does not respond well to any sort of strong punishment, rather she needs gentle correction because, and she actually told me this one day, she doesn't like it when people are angry. It's really made me consider how I respond to her when she has an outburst. The other morning she got frustrated as she was putting on her swimsuit top and when I tried to help her she just burst into tears. When I told her that there wasn't anything to cry about she cried harder.

Over the past couple of days I've been really thinking about how I interact with little j and how she responds to things I say, or don't say. It hasn't been easy, but I guess nobody said being a parent is an easy job.

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