This parenting gig has certainly thrown me a few curve balls over the years but as time has passed, I’ve learned to just go with the flow and follow my instinct.
Lately my instinct has been leading me towards something I’d never really through about regarding Elliott. It’s been the observations I’ve made over the past number of months that’s made me wonder and recently realise that Elliott is quite possibly a highly sensitive child.
I knew that Elliott was sensitive, but this was a new level of sensitive and made me research it a bit further.
I watched a TED talk by Heidi Hass Gable – Gifted, creative and highly sensitive children and to my surprise, things were starting to make sense in terms of Elliott’s personality, the things I’d just passed off as challenges over the past years.
Who knows, I could be completely wrong here, but the coincidence is uncanny.
Gable went on to explain gifted, creative and highly sensitive children in her talk and explained that intelligence is only one dimension. There is also a physiological difference in that they feel things more intensely.
Signs of a highly sensitive child
- Intelligence – these children have a drive to learn and ask lots of questions.
- Psycho motor – these children need to move all the time. They’re always fiddling.
- Creative – these children have a huge imagination. They like to see how things are alike and make connections.
- Sensory intensity – seams or tags on their shirt will annoy them, they don’t like things being too loud and will ask for it to be quiet, they are sensitive to smells, they are emotional and feel deeply, they find it hard handling the woes of the world.
It’s the sensory intensity that really stands out with Elliott. In her talk, Gable suggests that this is the biggest standout of all the signs of a sensitive and/or gifted child.
Elliott can’t stand scratchy seams or tags on his clothes and asks me to fix them immediately.
Elliott hates loud noise, like REALLY hates it. He will not sit in a movie theatre. He hates being in huge crowds and finds it overwhelming. If music is too loud, he asks for it to be turned down. I quite regularly hear him saying ‘it’s too loud Mummy!’ It sucks for me because I can’t sing really loudly in the car to my favourite song.
Elliott is ALWAYS asking ‘Mummy, what’s that smell’. His sense of smell is extremely sensitive and he picks up things even I can’t smell and really strange smells at that.
Prior to the Shaun the Sheep movie incident, Elliott has always been highly emotional. If Mr. G or I have been sick or hurt, it’s like he feels our pain and it shows in his face and the way he talks. He has a very thin skin. I’ve now considered that the separation anxiety he has previously experienced could have a lot to do with this deep emotional aspect and his connection to me. Who knows.
We have to be really mindful of how we discipline Elliott over the years because even one raised voice can affect him quite deeply. There have been times when he has said things to me with such sincerity I’ve been amazed that someone that young can have such deep feelings. Without going into any detail I can say that Elliott has the purest and kindest heart which has on many occasions made me gush when I’ve seen how he acts, he’s like a little old soul. His Grammie reckons he’s been here before.
The thing is, if Elliott is in fact a highly sensitive child, I’m nervous about how vulnerable that may make him as he gets older. After the anxiety I have experienced in my life, I do not want him to experience it too.
Michael Grose of Parenting Ideas suggests that parents with highly sensitive children need to be both optimistic and resilient, they need to support the child but not allow the child to take themselves too seriously. I’m really glad that we’re already on the right track with here, we always try to have loads of fun in our house! Michael also goes on to suggest encouraging sensitive children to take risks socially and applaud social achievements, no matter how small.
Ah parenting, it’s most certainly an in depth study all of our own, isn’t it? This topic has just got me a little fascinated, and as Elliott grows I might see more signs or perhaps not. To me I think it’s important to be aware of the possibility so that I can do what’s best for him instead of ignoring signs and my intuition.
Do you have a highly sensitive and/or gifted child? When did you realise? Has your parenting style changed because of it?
Welcome to another week of Mummy Mondays! Link up one post and leave some comments on other blogs! Have fun!