Some children have emotional outbursts that can sometimes surprise their parents, who don’t necessarily understand the needs associated with such behavior. Children’s hypersensitivity may be a feature of these difficulties in managing their emotions.
• Also read: Hope is in the mind and it works
• Also read: A guide to explaining Alzheimer’s to children
• Also read: Tame those around us, even if they annoy us
Martine has an 8-year-old daughter, Amandine, and a 5-year-old son, Auguste, who have not made an identical journey. “Auguste has always been intense in his emotions since he was born. Baby, he cried a lot, he often wanted to be in our arms. It was really difficult.”
The months went by but Auguste became more and more demanding until he had his first big bout of frustration at the age of 20 months. “I remember exactly. We came home from the cabin and they asked him to take off his socks because he had stepped in the water that ran out of his winter boots. His reaction was disproportionate, so much so that I was surprised without reacting. My husband, who was unloading the car, walked in thinking there had been an accident or something serious. Auguste was in an incredible state and seemed surprised himself at the anger that was overwhelming him.
After this first crisis, many others followed, but Martine and her husband were not well equipped to deal with them. “Our response was to scold him or even punish him by isolating him in his room, but it was like pouring fuel on the fire.”
Over time, Martine began analyzing what could be causing this type of anger and trying different approaches to see what might work best to calm him down, or at least lessen his outbursts.
“I realized that alongside small frustrations or spontaneous events that didn’t suit him, there were warning signs. When his sister played the piano, he covered his ears. He didn’t want to wear certain shirts anymore, he reacted hysterically to the slightest scratch, or even the slightest change in schedule could make him switch immediately.
Martine did her research and quickly focused her reading on hypersensitivity in children. “It relieved me to see that my son was just a reaction to being overly multifactorial sensitive. We went in search of a diagnosis that also showed us that he had ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), without hyperactivity. It doesn’t change his day-to-day life, but we know better how to react when things go wrong and most importantly, we know that he’s not an angry or naughty kid. He’s just getting too much information at once that he can’t handle.”
How to help a hypersensitive child?
Hypersensitivity is a painful condition for children. They need a calm, soothing and caring environment. When you feel an abundance, you can help him put his feelings, his emotions, into words so that he becomes aware of what is going on inside him. Hypersensitive children need to have an easier everyday life. We limit their schedule, we give them time to relax, we make sure they get enough sleep, and we let them engage in a physical activity to help blow off steam.