Our youngest Zian is naturally cheerful. He made us laugh most of the time. But, you’ll hear him shrieked whenever his brother took his favorite toy, burst into tears whenever I said no, and sulk whenever I scold him. Sometimes we will just see his tears rolling on his cheeks just because someone did not pay attention to him. There was even a time that he refused to sleep with me after scolding & spanking him. . He’s way too sensitive and obviously, I’m a bit lost on how to handle my son’s emotions.
Yesterday, he shrieked when I refused to let him drink a chocolate drink early in the morning. I let him feel his emotion for a while, after all I have chores to finish. And in a situation like this, I figured out that the more I try to talk him out of his feeling, the more that he will hold on to that feeling. So let it be for a while…
After sulking for a few minutes, he approached me and ask for a bottle of milk instead. At this time he was back to his cheerful self. Then it was my moment to explain what I did. I don’t really know if he understands my point, but all the while, while I’m speaking he was paying attention.
Parenting highly sensitive kids can be exhausting. Sometimes I feel like locking up inside my room and leave them jungled. But that’s not a good idea. As parents we have to train our children in the way they should go. If you have the same challenge, perhaps the following steps might help you, it works with my kids.
Time Out. Give him space for him to feel that overwhelming emotion. Don’t try to take him out from that emotion quickly as it might aggravate the situation. They have the tendency to get even more upset. Let them have some space for a while.
Empathize. This is our way of telling them that we’re in this together. I guess it is significant to them to know that they have someone on their side. And as you empathize, suggests ways on how you both can solve the problem or try to engage him in a new activity.
Affirm. When time out is over, I normally tell my kids the reason why I’m imposing such rule. Then I end by telling them that I want them to be good because I love them. Affirmation as Dr. Richard Nicastro put it is a relationship glue that helps two people create a deeper bond. Let him know that he is unique and he is loved.