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