People come in all shapes and sizes, and the same can be said for personalities, too. Some kids can be confident, loud, and talkative, while others can be more reserved - just like adults. While grown-ups may be more adapt to coping with their feelings, sensitive kids can often feel overwhelmed with the stresses of everyday life, resulting in tantrums. Growing up can be a tricky business, but emotional children may need an extra helping hand. As parents, it can be difficult to understand why a child cries at the drop of a hat or finds it challenging to do things that perhaps their siblings or friends don't. At times, it can be frustrating for everyone involved, but no one feels it more than a sensitive child. Here are a few tips on how you can figure it out together.
An emotional child doesn't equal a weak one
We've all been in a situation where a child is crying over spilled milk. For some, the natural reaction is to tell them to forget about it and stop crying. On the flip side, it could encourage us to handle them with kid gloves, seeing them as fragile, or weak. No matter your own personal feelings toward the situation, it's important not to hold your child to your own standards. Calling them a wimp could have a serious effect on their self-esteem while assuming their emotions are a sign of fragility can also be misguided. In fact, being in tune with one's feelings can often be a great thing, especially in adulthood.
Remember that it's okay for them to be sad or angry - and let them know it, too
As parents, our lives are made easier when there are smiles on faces. It's a simple fact and a marker that everything is as it should be. However, we're not robots and everyone has their moments. As frustrating as it is for a family outing to be interrupted with tears and tantrums, these things are to be expected. Usually, these outbursts are related to what a child is feeling - they just don't know how to appropriately react to their emotions yet. It's vital to validate what they're going through, no matter how trivial it may seem to you. If little Jessie is very angry that she doesn't get to play in the park, let her know that she has a right to feel however she wants to feel, but emotions shouldn't rule behavior. For instance, anger shouldn't turn into kicking or hitting, and sadness doesn't mean huge tantrums on the supermarket floor. If discipline is required, be sure to point out it's the behavior that is the issue and not the feeling.
Help them understand what they're feeling
Often times, young children become more emotional because they don't understand what they're feeling. As developing tiny humans, everything is new to them. We might find these sensations old hat, but according to Very Well Family, children are still learning. Help them to understand what they're feeling by saying things like, "You look sad," or "I can see you're really disappointed." This simple tactic will not only aid them in understanding themselves but open up the line of communication between you both. Making it okay to talk about feelings - even if it's just in relation to a TV show or movie - will stand you in good stead in the future.
Teach them ways to cope, and take note yourself
Trying to get through normal activities can be made seemingly impossible when your child is prone to crying fits. Grabbing some groceries, taking them to the movie theater, or even to the play park can turn into mortifying experiences that leave us feeling embarrassed and at our wit's end. It can be tricky, but leading by example is one of the best remedies. Even if you feel like you've tried everything and have to resort to yelling, it's not going to calm the situation down. Instead, teach your child some tactics to help them ride out the moment, and try them out yourself, too. Deep breathing through the nose and out through the mouth, counting to 10, or even taking a break by moving into another room can be useful things for both of you to employ. When they're not in a heightened state, try asking them what they feel when they go through these periods, and what you can do to help them. You may be surprised at what they can teach you.