My 7 year old son has always been highly sensitive and it just seems to be getting worse. He cries at the drop of a hat, genuine tears it seems, because his lunch dropped out his lunch box or because he cant decide if he should play rugby at lunchtime or because his brother took a chair that he wanted to sit on and so on.
There was an issue at the start of the year when a boy next to him in the classroom kept asking him to help him with his work and then apparently hit him with a pencil because my son wouldnt help him because he was so worried he wouldnt finish his own work. I spoke to the teacher about it and the boys were sent to the principal, even though I asked that that not happen as I knew it would send my son into a spiral of anxiety. And it did. I received a phone call from the principal telling me that my son had started crying from the time he left his classroom and the principal couldnt get a word out of him because he was so upset. The prinicpal said that HE found the whole situation so distressing and was there a problem at home? There is definitely no problem at home, when my son is at home he is usually very talkative, happy, energetic but with this constant crying which has started happening. His teacher phoned me the other day as he was feeling ill at school and she asked me to come and fetch him as he "was not coping" and was in tears. I dont think the cause of the problem is at school as he is becoming increasingly tearful at home too, just unable to cope with small issues.
Please can anyone suggest ways that I can help my son become more resilient, at least give him tools to do so so that he does not take the knocks of life so hard? My heart breaks for him and I really want to help him, to get to the root of the problem and help him to empower himself.
Re: How can I help my highly sensitive son become more resilient?
Date: 08-06-11 20:31
I feel for you. My son also cries easily at home but as he's very young for his class he will do everything in his power not to cry at school -social suicide!
I've had to work pretty hard at getting him to think about what's important and what's not e.g. getting a favourite top dirty:
Can we fix it? (Yes) Will it be a problem next week? (No) So, is it worth getting upset about and wasting our playtime on? (No).
Also things like:
XYZ Problem: 1. Can you do anything about it? Yes--go do that, No--then #2. Can adult do anything about it? Yes ---go get that help, No --then
#3 Can anyone do anything about it? Yes --apply for that help, No---then
#4 If no-one can do anything about it then it's something we are going to have to cope with as best we can!
Pretty much the AA motto: Accept the things you cannot change, Courage to change....etc
Re: How can I help my highly sensitive son become more resilient?
Author: Tiz Me
Date: 10-06-11 14:03
You may have already looked into this but could these reactions be a response to some other form of stress/distress?
How is his cognitive profile? Is it even or are there significant disparities between strengths and weaknesses that may be requiring him to 'compensate' and leaving him 'under-resourced' energy wise in other area?
What about sensory input? Same thing .... if they are needing to use all their energy reserves just to cope with sensory input, that takes away resources from coping in other areas.
Maybe there are areas where he needs greater "protection" at the moment (accommodation) and that is leading to him not having 'enough left over' to manage what seems to be 'minor' emotional concerns?
My heart goes out to you - we are as happy as our saddest child - you must be feeling quite distressed yourself! My daughter exhibited v similar traits to your sweet little boy :) and we generally described her as being 'overwhelmed by life'. School was too noisy and chaotic for her and she used to invent diseases so she could be sent to the sickbay at break times as she'd worked out it was the only quiet place in school to get away from everyone! School isn't the place for sensitivities, children need to be very robust to make it through. Alot of my daughters problems stemmed from her diet; there is a fab nutritionist in Auckland (www.drlibby.com) you might want to chat with? also you could discuss Vtamin D supplements .... at this time of year the average Vit D level in a child is about 30 and the reading should be nearer 100 - and that's just for the brain to function normally - Vit D supplements make an enormous difference to my daughters robustness and mood, much more upbeat and able to cope with life when she's on them. We are lucky however as her teacher allows her to stay in class at breaks for a quiet space, and there's a genuine understanding of her needs. Perhaps your son would be allowed to sit in a space on his own in class to give him one less thing to deal with? - my daughter covets the empty desk at the back of class with no neighbors!! Good luck and best wishes.
I too am the mother of a very sensitive young man (nearly 7) and we are always working on building his resilience. We have good days and bad days but I can definitely relate!! I just wanted to recommend a book that I have found very helpful: "Raising Resilient Children: Fostering Strength, Hope and Optimism in Your Child" by Robert Brooks. I read it a few years ago but it really really helped and I still use the ideas in it often with all my children.
There is marvelous research by ElaineN Aron on highly sensitive people (HSPs) and two excellent books, 'The Highly Sensitive Person' and 'The Highly Sensitive Child'. Wonderful reading and includes good practical strategies.
It is worth considering that your son also has sensory defensiveness. This website talks about it and also has books including books on sensitive boys. There are some great experts there as well: www.hsp-stress-relief.com
My daughter has just been through this. It lasted about a term, and seemed to come from nowhere. Many worries/negative social interactions/broken rules (unintentionally) that had been shelved all came back to haunt her in that time. I think this is onset of self-awareness. I eventually sent her to school with her cuddly (always been a mummmy substitute. She has regressed to almost how she was from a baby). She takes the cuddly secretly into the toilet when feeling panicky. I gave her a day off but felt it was better for her to practice resilience by going and having her support cuddly there. Also involved the teacher who is being more overtly caring toward her which makes her feel she belongs. Hope that helps...
Very very worrying, my 7 year old son is highly sensitive. The teacher raised her concern about the following: He lacks concentration in class as a result he won't finish his work on time, he wants to help everybody in class and also expect everyone to be his friend. He will sadly report to the teacher if things don't go his way. His teacher says he is a bright boy but because of this, she is not getting the best out of him. His teacher likes him and trying with us to find ways of helping him. He is a very happy child, always smiling.
Our other concern is that he is going to grd 2 next year and there he might not get the attention he gets from his teacher.
His father is also a very caring, sensitive man.
My husband and I are heart broken for him and wish we could help him
get ready to face the rough world.
your lovely young son does sound as though he is struggling to be the very best he can be all the time.
Some kids have tendencie to be like this, and it isn't always come from home or school or TV etc. It can help if you can get him to see that not all things are major, some are really minor and that everyone makes mistakes or has things not go so well sometimes - but it is these that help us keep on learning and growing so really what makes us re-think is a good thing not something to be sad or worried about.
Triple P NZ have a tip sheet about raising resilient children - it costs a couple of dollars and yu try emailing them on firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about this tip sheet. If you don;t get anywhaere you can email me I sell them at cost too - email@example.com
Best of luck - if we didn't have sensitive folk we wouldn't have some of the most caring folk either.