When Mark and I were raising our five children, there was a wide array of temperaments, personalities, and unique traits in each of them. The truth is, families usually have one child that is more sensitive and intense than the others. Often what worked for your other children might not work with this child. Every child is different and needs intentional leadership from their parents. In fact, Dr. Kathy Koch and I talk about this in our book, No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are, because learning new skills and understanding your sensitive and intense child can be a game changer.
Helping me unpack this today is Lynne Jackson. Lynne has 25 years of experience as a pediatric occupational therapist working with children with a sensory processing disorder, ADHD, OCD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and autism spectrum disorder. Lynne is also an author and founder of Connected Families, a ministry that helps families in the midst of everyday life.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- Examples of a sensitive and intense child
- Strategies for decreasing stress for you and your child
- What truly makes us good parents
- And more!
I pray this is exactly what you are needing to hear today!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are
- Connecting With Your Child’s Heart with Jim and Lynne Jackson | Episode 44
- 7 Practical Calming Strategies for Kids: The FREE Online Course
- Sensitive & Intense Kids Course
- Article that differentiates
- Highly Sensitive Child Test by Elaine Aron
- Are You A Highly Sensitive Adult? Check out this episode!
- As a thank you for listening, get your 3 free eBooks.
My Key Takeaways:
1) Your child isn’t broken. You may have wondered, What is wrong with my child? But the reality is that a child can become sensitive and intense for several reasons. They may need another parenting style to be reassured of their safety, have sensory sensitivity, or have experienced trauma. When we can understand and uncover the stressors your children are reacting to, we can help them healthily manage their responses. Most children who are sensitive and intense are actually high-potential kids!
2) Identify the difficult challenges in your kid’s life. Take note of what activities are challenging or when they need extra help. This could be getting in the car to run errands, eating a particular food, or when they come home from school. We can support our children by engaging them in a sensory-regulating activity when we notice these patterns. We can begin to avoid these trouble spots in our day by helping our children manage their emotions before they become a problem.
3) Be okay, even when your child is not. Your child is not the evidence of whether you are a good parent. When you separate your worth from your child’s behavior, you can effectively help them address their reactions. It takes a lot to parent sensitive and intense kids, but when we are mindful of their needs, we can begin to meet them where they need it most.
Lynne Jackson was dissatisfied with the parenting resources available to them as young parents of three intense and “lively” children. Her dissatisfaction grew as she worked as a pediatric occupational therapist with children that had various disorders. Lynne and her husband, Jim, founded Connected Families in 2002 and co-authored How to Grow a Connected Family and Discipline That Connects With Your Child’s Heart. Learn more at https://connectedfamilies.org.
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This was so enlightening and encouraging! I have a several children, one in particular, like this– and I am this myself.😂 Any tips for dealing with your own sensory issues while parenting well??
E.g., I struggle often to eat meals with my family, due to the noise of a talkative spouse/ kids and chewing noises😜 (chips are terrible!) I struggle with do much guilt and anxiety about it, and my spouse does NOT understand. I try really hard, but high-stimulation environments wear me out so fast, and my family takes it personally when I need more space than they do. Am I just a dishrag??
Jessica–educating your family on what you’re learning about yourself as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) might be helpful. Here’s a podcast episode we did (and a book the guest wrote) about that! https://jillsavage.org/what-is-an-hsp-and-why-does-it-matter-with-cheri-gregory-episode-2/