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Dealing with highly sensitive child

(24 Posts)
user1492526595 Tue 18-Apr-17 20:48:23

Hi, my daughter is 3.5years - she is highly sensitive in that she hurts easily, is sensitive to loud noise, smells, super sensitive to being told off, generally she is a delicate flower!
She goes to pre school and likes it, she's not shy, however.....
On play dates she often spends a lot of time coming to me telling tales on the other children. She will often say they have hurt her when they've done the slightest thing as she is very sensitive to touch/pain. It's more a problem with the boys we know rather than the girls, as the boys tend to naturally play more boisterously I guess. I am struggling with how to deal with it because I don't want to make a big fuss over her and it's not fair for the other children to be told off if they've not really done anything wrong. Any ideas?

Crumbs1 Tue 18-Apr-17 21:15:40

Don't go to the play dates with her?
Cancel play dates until she's learned not to be manipulative?
Let her enjoy nursery and don't push socialising outside of that?

user1492526595 Tue 18-Apr-17 21:28:56

Thank you- some good ideas I'd not thought about

llangennith Tue 18-Apr-17 21:36:29

Good grief! She's not being manipulative, she's just more sensitive than most to a lot of things.
OP, Google "overexcitability". It's a recognised thing and you may find some useful advice.

RueDeDay Tue 18-Apr-17 21:44:55

I have a delicate flower of a DD as well. She's 7 now, and has gotten better in some respects and worse in others. Better... I have talked to her about accidents and she is a lot more understanding / forgiving when people 'hurt' her. Worse... She is conscientious to the point of insanity and gets very distressed if others break rules, even if the others don't know about the rules in question! (eg no wearing shoes inside).

There's been no magic cure, just consistently talking through things time after time. I have however learnt to 'manage' playdates we host in that there are children she plays really well with, I tend to encourage those playdates and not the ones that result in tears and drama!

user1492526595 Tue 18-Apr-17 21:48:52

Thanks, she definitely is more sensitive than most to things. I've never heard of overexcitability- just had a look and certainly recognise some of her traits in the descriptions

user1492526595 Tue 18-Apr-17 21:51:59

@RueDeDay Yes! my daughter also gets really upset if others break the rules- it was only today that she was complaining about this too on the play date, as well as the little boy repeatedly 'hurting' her by accident

RueDeDay Tue 18-Apr-17 22:16:45

Yup. School was a real learning curve. I got called in one afternoon as DD had broken down and was inconsolable. She was practically hysterical when I got there, took about 10 minutes to calm her down enough to understand what had happened. Turned out the teacher had instituted a behavioural chart that morning, and DD was so stressed by the possibility that she could possibly be naughty and she might then be put on the red that she had frozen in panic, and then wound herself up more and more about this... Couple of hours later, massive massive meltdown. The teacher was a bit gobsmacked when the reasoning came out! Needless to say, DD never even went on the orange, let alone the red!!

user1492526595 Wed 19-Apr-17 07:57:50

@RueDeDay oh bless her!! Yes I think school will be a learning curve too! At least we don't have to worry about them being naughty hey!

DarkDarkNight Wed 19-Apr-17 11:47:09

I have a 3.5 year old son who sounds very similar. He has trouble regulating his emotions and has really extreme tantrums. He also gets very upset and almost over empathises if he sees anything sad. I've just had a google and he ticks a lot of the boxes in the overexcitability info even down to things like having a really good memory.

Following this thread for tips.

user1492526595 Wed 19-Apr-17 12:30:29

That's interesting as we have always commented on how good her memory is too! And she notices every detail.
Does anyone have any tips on what's the best thing to actually say to her when she comes up complaining that someone's done something to her? I've tried yesterday to explain that she gets hurt easily and the other children don't hurt as easily so they don't mean to hurt her (although not sure if I should say this and make her feel 'different?') I've tried to explain what an accident is. I'm just not sure if she understands or not :-/

muckypup73 Wed 19-Apr-17 12:33:20

She soundslike she coud be on the spectrum from a few things you have described.

user1491572121 Wed 19-Apr-17 12:34:51

Have you considered she might have a sensory processing disorder OP?

highinthesky Wed 19-Apr-17 12:37:32

Have you considered a desensitisation programme for DD?

A quick google search has revealed this:

Not that I'm endorsing this, just suggesting there many be ways to manage it!

user1492526595 Wed 19-Apr-17 12:45:20

@user1492526595 I haven't heard of that before, but I will look it up thanks

@muckypup73 do you mean autistic spectrum? I don't think so because her speech is normal and she is sociable eg enjoys birthday parties, pre school, and is confident speaking to anyone, she also likes to play 'role plays' a lot with little characters chatting... so this doesn't really seem to fit.... I don't know much about it though to be honest

user1492526595 Wed 19-Apr-17 12:49:48

@highinthesky that's really interesting just read the link- she always has hated massage or any cream put on her - I remember when she was a baby i tried to take her to a baby massage class and she screamed the whole time and I had to leave! So I guess this makes sense now....

72percentcocoa Wed 19-Apr-17 12:51:46

I have a sensitive 4 year old. I have accepted who she is and try and understand the world from her eyes. Sensitive children can be very bright, conscientious and risk averse children. They will more likely to be academic
and not experiment in drugs etc.
There are lots of positives in having this type of personality.
Only after reading this book did I come to this conclusion-

The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them

user1492526595 Wed 19-Apr-17 13:26:54

@72percentcocoa I'm reading this book too! smile am halfway through. It has definitely helped me understand her a lot more. I guess I just struggle with what to say especially in front of other mums who just see my child completely 'overreacting' confusedblush

BarbarianMum Thu 20-Apr-17 09:45:08

Constantly trying to get other children into trouble is the quickest route to friendlessness ime. Rather than just giving her sympathy, try building her empathy and resilience. Encourage her to try viewing incidents from the other child's point of view "do you think he knew that was a rule?, "do you think she meant to hurt you?", discourage her policing other children's behaviour - dismiss tattling on things that don't directly affect her and give her coping mechanisms.

It's tough but don't fall into the trap as viewing all the behaviourscaused by her sensitivity as meaning that her needs and feelings are more important than everyone elses - some of them are just undesirable behaviours that need discouraging just like name calling, snatching or hitting.

user1492526595 Thu 20-Apr-17 11:58:56

@BarbarianMum you are right - I certainly don't want her telling tales all the time. This is why I don't want to make a big fuss of comforting her because I don't want to reinforce the behaviour and encourage it. I will try to get her to see from the others point of view like u say

mummytime Thu 20-Apr-17 12:20:14

do you mean autistic spectrum? I don't think so because her speech is normal and she is sociable eg enjoys birthday parties, pre school, and is confident speaking to anyone, she also likes to play 'role plays' a lot with little characters chatting... so this doesn't really seem to fit.... I don't know much about it though to be honest

I could have said all that about my DD at that age. And she has excellent eye contact. I'm not going to diagnose your DD over the internet, but I would say you need to make a mental note of this just in case.

The Highly Sensitive Child book is good - I bristled when I heard the connection between those behaviours and the spectrum, but again... Only time will tell. Respectable techniques to use with children on the spectrum will work with those not on the spectrum too and cause no harm.

And I'd back off play dates - preschool is giving her plenty of chances to socialise.

user1492526595 Fri 21-Apr-17 08:29:00

@mummytime what did you notice about your daughter that made you think she could be on the spectrum and what age? If you don't mind me asking?

Blossom789 Fri 21-Apr-17 10:13:35

The out of sync child is another great book it focuses on sensory difficulties with lots of practical ideas.

I too was wondering asd sometimes it's the management of social relationships that's difficult. Also are her role play games things she has seen and is repeating or is it her imagination. I don't think you need to rush into assessments or anything like that but just keep it in the back of your mind of this continues into early part of primary school.

mummytime Fri 21-Apr-17 11:53:21

My DD was 9/10 when she was diagnosed, but by then she had had a lot of issues at school, and I had suspected for about a year (she had for 6 months). I was shocked that her school was initially "surprised" when we started the diagnosis procedure - but her class teacher could see how it fitted when filling in the forms.
I really would wait and see at present - but be prepared to act if things start going wrong. Diagnosis can take time, and I think is best started before adolescence even if they are "coping", as a child will both co-operate more and has time to come to terms with being "different".

Things I regret most are: expecting her to be "like her peers", getting frustrated when she wouldn't/couldn't "join in", and letting school get to the point of trying to label her as "naughty and manipulative".

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