Mother Comforting ChildDoes your child seem to make emotional mountains out of molehills? Do you find yourself thinking that he’s being melodramatic? Or maybe you understand that your child has what Kazimierz Dabrowski called emotional supersensitivity. It doesn’t work to tell your child to stop worrying or that she’s being too sensitive for her own good. So what can you do?

The first thing to do is understand.  Many gifted children feel deeply and intensely. What may seem minor or insignificant to you can feel devastating to these children. Consider this poem by Pearl S. Buck:

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. 
To him… 
a touch is a blow, 
a sound is a noise, 
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy, 
a friend is a lover, 
and failure is death. 

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – – – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.”

While these gifted children may not be feeling compelled to create, the poem does capture the intensity of the emotions a highly emotionally sensitive child may be feeling. He’s not being melodramatic. He really is experiencing those feelings deeply and intensely.

The problem is that all the events that triggers these deep feelings are not equal. Highly sensitive adults can recognize that fact more easily that children can and although they may feel hurts, slights, and disappointments deeply, they are able to put the different experiences into perspective.

That is what you want to help your child do. A great way to help your child put the events and responses to them into some perspective is to have your child create an emotional response scale.  Basically, you write down numbers from one to ten and then ask your child for experiences for each number.  Number one would be something that really isn’t too bad. It could be something like not getting that second helping of a favorite food at dinner. Number ten would be the worst thing that could happen.

It takes some time and negotiating to fill in all ten slots – and it shouldn’t be done when your child is upset about something. The experiences have to what your child thinks is the least and worst things that can happen, not what you think. You can offer suggestions, but let your child put them in order. Your child can always change the order or add and subtract events from the list as she gets older.

When your child gets upset about something someone said or did, look at the list together and ask your child where on the scale the event falls. She may feel like it’s the end of the world, but looking over the scale will help her put it into some perspective. She is still going to feel sad, upset, or hurt, but she will also start understanding that not all events are equally upsetting and she will start learning to moderate her responses.

http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mother-comforting-child-11411307_s.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mother-comforting-child-11411307_s-150x150.jpgCarol BainbridgeFor ParentsSocial Emotional IssuesAdvice for Parents,Sensitivity
Does your child seem to make emotional mountains out of molehills? Do you find yourself thinking that he's being melodramatic? Or maybe you understand that your child has what Kazimierz Dabrowski called emotional supersensitivity. It doesn't work to tell your child to stop worrying or that she's being too...