Having the privilege of being a parent is one of the most gratifying jobs on earth; however, it is not always easy. Parenting a sensitive or emotionally intense child can present even more challenges. Having some discipline strategies to use with highly sensitive kids can be very beneficial.
There are many times when parents don’t know how to discipline their sensitive children without making them upset or throwing tantrums. In addition to a wide range of parenting styles, there are also varying opinions on how to best discipline your child when they misbehave. Parenting a sensitive child can be a difficult task because of this.
You will learn that the best way to discipline a highly sensitive child is to be creative. Choosing a discipline method that works for your child will not be easy. And even if you do find something that works, it might not work the next time, and you would have to start over.
Parents and teachers often misunderstand these kids, which leads to highly sensitive children being categorized as problem children. Parents regularly find giving discipline to a sensitive child challenging, and they may even feel uncomfortable doing so, but it is important that all kids are taught right from wrong.
Discipline Strategies to Use With Highly Sensitive Kids
1. Be a Safe Space
Become a safe space for your sensitive child and listen to them. Accept that what they feel is important.
Tell them that it’s perfectly okay to feel the way they feel, and thank them for sharing their feelings.
2. Embrace the Sensitivity
Understanding that sensitivity is not a negative characteristic is essential. It is a positive trait to be sensitive. They are socially conscientious and show empathy quickly. You need to accept and understand your sensitive child when they are upset.
3. Do not Shame
Shaming is particularly damaging to sensitive children. Saying things like “naughty” that you would normally say to a child, may have a devastating effect on sensitive children.
4. Be Sure That your Tone is Appropriate.
Everyone screams from time to time. It’s just part of being a parent and being human. However, if you have sensitive kids, they will react to your screaming differently since they will take on your anger.
5. Encourage Downtime
Large crowds, bright lights, and chaotic surroundings can overwhelm sensitive kids. Therefore, it is not a good idea to over-schedule your child. Provide your sensitive child with plenty of downtimes at home to unwind and feel safe.
Provide some quiet activities to comfort them, such as reading or relaxing exercises.
Creating a space at home can be achieved by placing, headphones with relaxing music, reading or coloring books. Encourage your child to use this corner when feeling overwhelmed.
6. Applaud Their Efforts
Encouragement is essential for sensitive children. Praise your child’s efforts regardless of their success. Children who are constantly applauded often have lower self-esteem than those who receive praise frequently. When praising children, be sure to praise their efforts rather than the results of their efforts.
7. Teach Them to Express Emotions
In order for sensitive kids to cope with their feelings, they must learn how to express their emotions verbally. Teach your child how to identify and cope with uncomfortable feelings by doing activities that involve expressing emotions with them.
Often, sensitive children show their parents how they feel through their behaviors. Ask them to describe their feelings in words, or ask them to point to a picture that has a face with an emotion to describe how they feel.
The picture should be something you made together. Having a name to associate with their feelings will allow them to communicate better with you and for you to better understand their thoughts.
8. Setting Limits
If you are trying to avoid upsetting a sensitive child, you might be tempted to bend the rules, but this will not benefit the child in the long run. While being flexible is important, you should also teach your child how to be a responsible adult. If you allow your child to get away with things, you won’t be able to prepare him for life in the real world
9. Avoid the Blame Game.
Whenever a child does something wrong, a parent will naturally want to ask the child why they did it. For a child who is not sensitive, this might be okay, but for an overly sensitive child, this might be problematic. Before you say something, think about it carefully. Consider saying something like, “let’s come up with another way to accomplish that” instead of asking why your child did something.
It will not be easy to change the way you phrase your sentences, but over time you will become more proficient.
10. Do not Take a Defensive Stance.
Being aware of one’s own feelings is an important part of parenting. Our children are independent beings with thoughts, feelings, and reactions of their own, so sometimes they will be upset by the choices we make.
There’s nothing wrong with this. It is crucial that parents do not become defensive or overwhelmed by their own emotions when recognizing their children’s individuality and validating their own feelings.
11. Introduce Problem-Solving
Kids who are sensitive often feel overwhelmed by situations and are unsure of what to do. The key to coping with these situations is to find ways to relieve their anxiety and stress. Thus, parents should teach their children how to engage in problem-solving.
Children with sensitive personalities can greatly benefit from problem-solving skills. Your kids will gain confidence in their ability to deal with uncomfortable situations if you provide them with step-by-step instructions for tackling problems.
12. Provide Rewards
By changing the way, you say something, you can turn it into a positive. Children who are sensitive sometimes feel bad about getting into trouble. Creating a formal reward system can encourage kids to celebrate milestones and change their behavior.
13. Give Appropriate Consequences
Just like other children, sensitive children require consequences. It doesn’t mean a child shouldn’t face consequences just because they cry or feel bad. Ensure that your child faces consequences when breaking the rules. Your child will learn valuable life lessons if you use logical consequences.
Instead of punishment, consequences should focus on discipline. Furthermore, the consequences should be handled with gentleness. It is not necessary to use a loud voice with your sensitive child for them to understand you.
There is nothing wrong with not understanding your child’s needs at times, or not matching his or her feelings with your own. There are times when you won’t have the patience to handle your sensitive child.
You might say or do something that hurts their feelings. When this happens, apologize to your child, admit the mistake, and show your vulnerability to them.
Take some time to calm down and practice deep breathing.
About fifteen to twenty percent of children are born with a highly sensitive nervous system and are quick to react to everything.
As a result, they are quick to notice subtle changes, prefer to reflect before acting, and generally behave conscientiously. Additionally, they are easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation, sudden changes, and other people’s emotional distress.
The first step is to recognize that there is nothing wrong with being sensitive. Despite their sensitivity, sensitive children can be some of the kindest, most compassionate children you’ll ever meet. Raising a sensitive child, however, can be challenging, especially when it comes to discipline.
I hope you will find the above Discipline Strategies to Use With Highly Sensitive Kids useful.