Do you have the feeling that your child does not stop still, as if he had a motor inside? That he is very sensitive to his environment? Or, what is difficult for you to self-regulate at a behavioral and emotional level?
These are some of the characteristics of very emotionally intense children, or highly sensitive children (two different categories).
But what are we talking about in each case? And, how do we accompany them so that they regulate themselves better and promote their well-being? We tell you!
Very emotionally intense children
What is a very emotionally intense child like? Some of its features:
- Emotional: they are very emotional children; that is, their emotions are usually intense and powerful, and they tend to go from one extreme to another, in the emotional field, with ease (what is called emotional lability).
- Perceptive: they are usually highly perceptive regarding stimuli in their environment; thus, they perceive everything quickly and easily,including the smallest or seemingly imperceptible details. They are very focused on their environment.
- Sensitive: they are very sensitive children and very aware of the moodand emotions of others, the colors of the environment, the noises, the smells …
- Difficulties with changes: being so sensitive, changes can cause them anguish or discomfort.
- Attentional difficulties : Sometimes, but not always, these children may have difficulty keeping their attentionon a single stimulus (concentration), because their heads process too many stimuli at once (in addition to having a hard time self-regulating) .
- Restless and/or hyperactive: they are usually very active children, and it seems that they have an internal motor.
- Energetic: another characteristic that defines them is their inexhaustible energy. Do not stop!
- They may have self-regulation problems: self-regulation is the ability to regulate one’s emotions and their expression or behavior (for example, anger); intense children may have difficulty regulating themselves in this regard.
And highly sensitive children?
A concept related to that of very emotionally intense children, although not exactly the same, is that of highly sensitive people.
Elaine Aron, Doctor, American psychologist and researcher, identified the highly sensitive personality trait (HSP or highly sensitive people). According to her, PAS appears in 1 out of 5 people.
PAS children are very emotionally intense; According to Karina Zegers de Bejil, founder of the Association of People with High Sensitivity of Spain (APASE), they are children whose senses register all the details of their environment. In addition, they are also very thoughtful and empathic .
Although being PAS does not have to be something negative, neither in children nor in adults, the truth is that sometimes you must learn to cope and manage yourself (also as fathers and mothers of PAS children).
The “less positive” part of this personality trait is the tendency to oversaturation and overactivation , which can lead to stress due to not being able to manage so many stimuli received simultaneously.
As Karina states, based on what current research suggests, these children would be more vulnerable to the effects of a negative environment, but they would also respond more positively if they grew up in a loving , respectful and caring family . positive .
How to accompany very emotionally intense or highly sensitive children?
As we have seen, emotionally intense children and highly sensitive children share common characteristics. But, how to accompany them as parents? Some ideas that can help us:
Avoid places with a lot of noise or many people
A little trick that can help you better accompany your intense or highly sensitive child is to avoid, as much as possible, places with a lot of noise or a lot of people.
Being in quieter places will help you better self-regulate and not get overwhelmed.
Offer him time off
Children who are highly sensitive to their environment are continually processing and integrating the information and stimuli around them.
For this reason, although all children need to rest, they especially need adequate rest times , although sometimes it is difficult for them to realize or ask for them. Therefore, offer them!
Boost your acceptance
We all deserve to accept ourselves as we are, although this is not an easy task. In addition, the fact of accepting ourselves brings us a little closer to also accepting our weak points or points of improvement. And acceptance leads us, in turn, not to resist how we are.
In children it happens the same; therefore, help them to accept themselves as they are, without stopping working on those things that enhance their well-being.
Limit the use of screens
Screens overstimulate children; therefore, if your child is already intense, help him to make moderate use of electronic devices. He thinks that his reduction will also improve his rest.
Empathy is an always useful skill in parenting , because it allows us to connect with our children and detect what they need. Therefore, apply it here as well, through observing your child’s behavior and active listening .
Thus, empathy can help you identify what your child needs and how you can provide it.
At play time: few toys
At this point, when we say few toys, we are not referring to limiting our child’s play , or having “few” toys; we mean showing a few toys each time he plays (or every little while he plays).
That is, your child may have many toys, but use few of them at a time. But why? Because sometimes that intensity that these children that we describe overflow makes it difficult for them to maintain concentration on a stimulus.
For this reason his attention passes from one side to another ; and the more stimuli they have (in this case, toys ), the more difficult it is for them to focus on a game and enjoy it, as well as connect with the present moment.
When he is nervous, accompany him and wait for him to calm down
Emotionally intense children also go through moments of great internal intensity; that is, at the level of nervousness or anger .
If they are at a time like this, wait for them to calm down before talking to them (but be careful! It’s not about leaving them alone; you can still accompany them in this process of calming down).
It is about respecting their rhythms and finding the best time to speak. With all this has to do with emotional self-regulation.