If your child has been diagnosed as highly sensitive, there are ways you can parent him in a loving way. Some characteristics of a highly sensitive child include being startled easily, difficulty in adapting to sudden changes, dislike of being surprised, not wanting to be among large crowds of people, strong empathy for others, and a high concentration level. Highly sensitive children also tend to have a broad vocabulary and are good at listening intently. Here are some tips on parenting a highly sensitive child.
Start with acceptance of your child
You want to assure your child that you love him despite the traits he has as a highly sensitive person. Don't belittle his character or force him to develop a different personality that would resemble yours, your spouse's or those of the other children. This only makes things worse and your child is likely to be resentful of it.
Consider the positive aspects of his sensitivity
Another thing you can do is focus on the positive aspects of these traits. Talk about how you appreciate his desire to help your parents cook dinner when he visits them on the weekends. Or you can tell him that you like how he really concentrates well in school and can listen intently.
Let your child embrace his feelings
Since highly sensitive children are in tune with their feelings, you want to allow them to embrace those feelings even if you think they're going overboard. Your child needs the freedom to express himself when he is feeling sad, excited, bored or fearful. He needs to know that he is able to do this without feeling ashamed.
Discipline in a loving, not harsh manner
Even highly sensitive children need discipline but you should not be harsh with it. You need to set boundaries for them and if they will not listen, you can incorporate measures such as taking away the things they like or giving them time in their rooms by themselves. You can also reward them occasionally when they obey your commands.
Don't surround the home with too much noise
Highly sensitive children are often rattled by noises that are too loud or noises that are happening all at once. You should minimize the levels of noise in the home so that your child will not be easily rattled. In your child's room you can put on music at a soft level to keep him calm.
Cut back on the visual stimulation
It is okay to give your child visual stimulation during playtime but too much of it can be overwhelming. If you are decorating your child's room, don't go overboard with the bold colors or decorative accessories. Make the room functional and minimalist at the same time.
Be patient with his eating habits
Some highly sensitive children are picky eaters and this is because certain textures of food turn them off. Keep this in mind when feeding dinner to him. If he hates certain foods, try serving them in different ways and in time he might enjoy those foods.
With these tips, you will have a better relationship with your highly sensitive child.