Raising a Sensitive Child

Nourishing Body, Mind and Spirit

The Highly Sensitive Family


A dear friend (and mother of a  sensitive child) shared an article with me about The Highly Sensitive Family written by Liz Pilley in the Mothering Magazine in July/Aug 2009. You can read the whole article here.

Even if you’ve never heard the term Highly Sensitive before, the chances are that you know a child who fits the profile: they have a very sensitive nervous system, are aware of the subtleties in an environment and are easily overwhelmed in stimulating surroundings. They’re often labelled fussy, shy, spirited, spoilt, ADHD, inflexible, explosive, or even Autism Spectrum; but none of these labels quite fits. They take things much to heart, they’re fussy about food, temperature, texture and many other things. They often hate group settings, and have many fears, but they are also creative, curious, loving and empathetic.

It’s a great article, especially if you are parenting a highly sensitive child, and in the article, she also makes the point that typically, at least one of the parents of a highly sensitive child is highly sensitive themselves.  (uh huh…  nodding in agreement…).

Challenges of being highly sensitive

In the article, Liz also discusses the challenges of being highly sensitive (i.e., easily overstimulated, can be easily upset, fussy about food, temperature, texture, noisy, crowds, etc.).

With respect to this, I have to say that Moses was a highly sensitive child. When he was a baby to four years of age, he used to be comfortable in a very narrow range of circumstances and DH and I had to monitor him and his environment very carefully in order to keep him comfortable / non-agitated. I’m happy to say that all of the things that we’ve been doing to help him (i.e., Heilkunst homeopathy, energy healing, supplements, prayer) have helped him to become more comfortable in his body so that he isn’t always overstimulated and his body isn’t so agitated.

And as a result, we are now able to enjoy more fully the gifts and blessings that a sensitive child bring.

Gifts of being highly sensitive

Liz points out the gifts of being highly sensitive:

  • very intuitive and they notice every subtle undercurrent;
  • deep thinkers, very curious and tend to remember lots of odd facts;
  • wide vocabulary and very articulate;
  • very empathetic and nurturing, especially good with younger children and animals;
  • very open to plants, animals and nature;
  • feel everything deeply, and tend to be tactile and loving with those they know well, but reserved and apparently shy with those they don’t;
  • very creative, often artistic, and good with language.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes for Moses. (And, basically yes for me, except for being articulate and artistic. Also, yes for DH as well!).

I think it’s just been recently that DH and I have acknowledged that not only are we raising a sensitive child, but we are sensitive ourselves. Like Moses, DH doesn’t like big crowds and is sensitive to foods (he is sensitive to gluten and eggs). And like Moses, I’m very sensitive to smells and to animal dander. All three of us are sensitive to energy. We’d all rather spend time in nature, on our own or with a few close friends, than spend time in a noisy crowd.

But, I think rather than being a highly sensitive family, we’re now just a (moderately) sensitive family.

My sensitive boys

What about your family? Do you consider your family a sensitive family?


12 thoughts on “The Highly Sensitive Family

  1. Oh yes, yes, yes. Our youngest ds is very, very sensitive and I consider myself to be very sensitive too. I read a book called “Raising your spirited child” —- a real eye opener for me.

  2. Pingback: Thoughts about school « Raising a Sensitive Child

  3. Hi Linda: Thanks for the book recommendation — I haven’t read that book — sounds like it might be a good one for me to read!!!

  4. Hi Janice,
    Thanks for this post and the original article. We are a highly sensitive family, both parents and children. We are slowly learning to cope but it has been a very challenging road. We all have different sensitivities so respecting each person’s needs is difficult. But slowly we are learning!

  5. Hello Dulce Mareas: Thanks for the comment. So nice to hear from another highly sensitive family. I dropped by your blog and it looks like your family is planning a huge adventure! Best wishes with your time in Nicaragua!

  6. my son was diagnosed with PPD-NOS but I have worked my ass off to the point most would say he is ADHD…I am maybe autistic too? LOL…I caant be around large crowds can read people thoughts..not fun. In a lot of ways it has helped me a lot on recovering my very sick boy. but there is a lot of pain that we both have gone thru and trauma…that is always the hardest part of recovery

  7. Hi Channa: So nice to hear from you and your story. Your son is lucky to have you as his mom. I can relate to the pain and the trauma that is part of the recovery process… Many blessings to you and your son.

  8. my son is lucky to have me for his mom? you dont know how nice those words are to hear.. I question myself all the time. God bless you for saying that.

  9. Hi Channa:

    Yes, your son is most definitely lucky to have you as his mom, an intuitive mom who worked so hard to recover and heal her son. Amazing. You remind me of me, and how much I doubted myself during the early years, but continued on with the deep knowledge that my son could be helped. You are an amazing and intuitive woman and mom.

  10. Hi Channa,
    HSP often pass as autistic. That is the case for me and one of my children while my husband and other child are more adhd like. It is a question of being overwhelmed in our cases….

  11. you know this is soo cool:) all my life i have tried to fit in…now it took having my son to realize I am happy the way I am

  12. thank you ALXBAL….

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