(over) sensitive children...How to look on the bright side- or not.

If you’ve wondered why I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth…  Two Words. Night terrors.

If you’ve ever seen a child having a ‘night terror’ then you need no further explanation. If you have not- the only thing that comes to mind as a worthy representation is the head spinning child from the exorcist.  All of the this occurs between the hours of 10pm and 4am.

I’ve heard the old wives tales about what triggers night terrors but at the end of the day- it’s a normal developmental stage (Why hasn’t evolution found a less horrendous mechanism to aid transition!? They do say God has a sense of humour…)

One of the old wives tales is ‘sensitive children are more likely to experience night terrors’.

When I heard this- it triggered a flow of thoughts I wanted to explore with you… So Im dragging you along for the ride…

While working as a school counsellor I would receive referrals from parents and teachers alike with the referral reason being something along the lines of “He’s too sensitive” and “He needs to learn some resilience”…

AKA- This child experiences negative emotions more often than I am comfortable with. Sorry teachers but you must acknowledge, there is some truth to this.

Here’s what I would like you to consider about the sensitive child who drives you crazy because they burst into tears when someone takes their hat… the hat is returned… but the sensitive child still cries… the whole of recess…

The world is going to need this child. I don’t mean in the cutesy “it takes all kinds…”  sort of way. I mean literally. To survive.

If the human race is going to survive we are going to need a whooooooole bunch of sensitive kids. The kind of kid who CANNOT simply shrug off injustice and move on…. Its no secret that the Earth is at crisis point.

These kids might be a big ol’ ball of emotions over a perceived slight but if you’re into evolutionary psychology then you’ll know that emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration and stress are double edged swords. They certainly have their function.  

Sensitive kids don’t have to -stop- having these emotions. So many times, I hear care givers encouraging kids to ‘see the bright side’ of a situation. While I see the benefits of teaching an optimistic outlook, I also think it’s a fine line to tread between- glass half full and NEEDING to find a silver lining for every shitty that happens.

Our sensitive children need to know that perpetual happiness is NOT the human condition. Happiness is simply not an achievable ‘end point’. A sensitive child is likely to experience the full emotional rainbow every day. Instead of making them feel they are deficient somehow for ‘feeling too much’- we need to be allowing them to process these feelings without judgement or frustration.  So if my role as a parent is going to be helping to navigate the sometimes stormy sea that is my ‘sensitive child’- then I do so with gladness because at the end of the day – he might just save us all…