She is fire and she is ice. She is the light of my world, and the reason my head hurts. My daughter, is completely absorbed in her emotions. She is the epitome of an emotionally sensitive child, and some days it is all I can do to try to calm her down or comfort her when she cries. Most times she is the happiest girl in the world, but even then the attitude can turn to sour in a flash. How do I handle this roller coaster ride of big emotions from this tiny human?
The Emotionally Sensitive Child
From the moment she came into this world, my daughter has turned my life upside down. She is the one who made me a mom, and the one who taught me what it truly means to love someone else more than yourself. As she has gotten older, she has really come into her own. Blossoming into a wonderful little girl with a big heart, huge imagination, and strong will.
Along with that big heart though, comes a huge range of emotions. Even though she is a tiny little human, she is filled with big emotions that can change at the drop of a hat. She will be smiling and laughing one minute, and crying unconscionably the next.
At first, it was all I could do to try to balance out these emotions. I wasn’t sure what to do or how to act, this was all new to me. The things she would cry over, I would find meaningless and trivial, but they were meaningful to HER.
Lately it seems we have gotten a handle on the emotions, but raising an emotionally sensitive child is not easy. It has taken time and work on both of our parts to really get to a better place. We are still working through this, day by day. Some days are great, some not so great, but every day with her is a day I am learning.
The number one thing I have learned from my emotionally sensitive child, is to stay calm. I promise, it is harder than it sounds. When she is throwing a fit because the last cookie was already eaten or because she was told no, it would be easy to get angry. We have all been there, feeling that anger inside of us, wondering if we can sell them on Etsy or Ebay… but in order to teach our children to control their emotional outbursts, we have to control ours. I promise that throwing as big of a fit as your screaming and crying little human will only escalate the problem.
They Aren’t Irrational…Even When They Are
This one was hard for me, but we have to understand that while certain fears or emotional breakdowns may seem irrational to us they are the world to our tiny human. Recently, my daughter developed a totally out of nowhere irrational fear of the bath tub! She has always loved the bath, never had a bad incident in a bath, but all of a sudden it freaked her out. I am talking tears, shaking, screaming, just not wanting to get in. No lie, I thought it was ridiculous at first as it made no sense to me. I had to remember though, that she is 4 and new to this world so while it was irrational to me, she truly felt this way and I needed to help her. Brushing aside the feelings of your tiny human will only make it worse.
Talk It Out
This is where we get the chance to teach our tiny human all about their big emotions. Find out the real why. With my daughter ant the bath tub issue, apparently she had a dream about an overflowing tub where the water just kept coming. We discussed the fact that dreams are not real, and she ended up feeling better. No bath tub meltdowns in a few weeks! It really does take us helping them learn their emotions. How to handle them, how to best express themselves without a meltdown or anger.
Don’t Fight Anger With Anger
My daughter tends to get angry if she can’t figure something out. She will throw things out of frustration and it makes me so mad. I can’t let her see how made it makes me though. Showing her I am angry, will only make it worse. I have to explain to her that it is okay to ask for help, even though she for some reason thinks she shouldn’t ever need help ( kid is 4!). The anger is real, and I have to discipline but I don’t have to get angry myself. This is how she learns anger isn’t an answer, and throwing isn’t acceptable. If she sees me get angry as a result, she will think that it is an acceptable behavior.
Be The Safe Space
No matter their age, your child need to know that you are the one they can come to with a problem. If you dismiss their emotions or get angry as a result of their anger, then they will seek out solace elsewhere. Sometimes I even have to remind myself, she is 4. Since she is only 4, her ideas about anger and sadness are different than mine, and that is okay. I want her to be able to tell me when she is sad, or talk to me when she is angry. This is something that I want to follow her through her entire life. I am hoping that by setting the groundwork now, she will be comfortable coming to me as a teen later on in life. So long as you don’t judge, and allow your emotionally sensitive child to use you as their safety net then you are doing the right thing.
We Aren’t Perfect
There are days that I look back at all of the things I could have done differently. While this is great for trying to learn from our mistakes, it is not good to dwell. As moms, we all will fail. We will yell, we will need to walk away, but we are trying. Raising an emotionally sensitive child can be draining. My daughter’s emotions really take a toll on me, and no matter how hard i try, some days are just not the best.
We aren’t perfect, we just need to keep trying every day to be better. I am trying to raise my girl to have a handle on her emotions. It is a daily task, but a worthy one. If you too are raising an emotionally sensitive child, just remember to take it one day at a time. Be there as a sounding board, and don’t let their anger ignite yours.