Dr. Amy Stark
Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls
Food For Thought
The Sensitive Child
Some children are much more sensitive than others. They react to feelings and changes in their environments much more than other children do. My dog Jimmy is a very sensitive dog. He is good at his job because of his sensitivity. Many times he goes over to sit with someone and then a few moments later the person (both children and adults) begins to cry or becomes very emotional. This is not something that I have taught him…it is who he is. The unfortunate thing about this is that he is often very reactive to my moods, changes in his environment and to stress. If he were a child, we could talk about things and I would give him coping strategies. Alas, he is not and even when I try to talk to him about things he still sometimes reacts. I sometimes find this frustrating and then realize that parents with sensitive children need to learn to speak the language of their child, just as I need to learn to speak the lanaguage of my dog. I seek the help of a trainer to better understand how to relate to Jimmy and his anxiety. Parents need to seek the help of a therapist to understand how to speak to their child about their anxiety. This is particularly important when parents are in distress of any kind. This is because the sensitive child is more tuned in than you are aware they are and can often sense and even feel your inner stress. Its even more imperative when parents are separated. This is because the sensitive child, who has trouble going back and forth, is now required to do that. This child can also sense parental stress from a mile away and is distressed by it. Without insightful parents teaching coping, this becomes a seemingly impossible task. Get some help, create as much consistantcy as you can, shelter the child from the fights. Teach your sensitive child the importance of taking time out to re-group, encouraging them to go back out into the world. Help them be aware of their internal limits. Often times, sensitive children will become over stiumlated and overwhelemed easily. Teach them to find their inner calm.
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.
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