Are you raising an oversensitive or hypersensitive child? If so, you may be contributing to the problem without even knowing it.
Here are three things you could be doing with your child that may be leading them to be hypersensitive:
1. Failing to set appropriate limits or having unrealistic expectations
One of the key components to parenting is helping your child learn what is acceptable and what is not in individual social and relationship situations. If you are not teaching your child these rules or helping them to learn how to act or react in particular situations or events you are doing them a disservice.
Yes, we all want our children to be happy, but the reality is there are times, when children are growing up, when they will face disappointment, hurt feelings, and even anger over an event.
It is the job of parents to teach children what is expected, what is acceptable and how to act in each of these situations. Allowing your child to succumb to anxiety, fear, anger, or even stress does not help the child and can, in fact, cause a crippling effect for them socially. As a parent it is your responsibility to determine appropriate behavior and teach it to your child.
2. Being overly indulgent or spoiling your child
Another way you could be contributing to problems with your child is by allowing your child to get or do everything they want. Yes, we want to give our children the best of everything and ensure they have a happy childhood. But by not allowing a child to experience want, you could be creating a child who doesn’t understand disappointment.
Some of the things that you should teach your child:
how to lose at a game
how to work together as a team
responsibility for their own actions and reactions
how to contribute
When children are young they don’t understand losing at a game and that’s OK. But as they get older, teaching a child good sportsmanship or gamesmanship is important. This will help to alleviate a lot of problems with sports, competitions, and even school yard games.
Teaching your child how to evaluate their own reactions and actions is a very important skill they should learn growing up.
3. Being overprotective
Being overprotective of one or more of your children in social as well as sibling situations is not constructive. Have you ever sat and watched your child as they play, only to run to the rescue if they stumble, fall, or seem upset? This type of over-protectiveness can quickly contribute to a hypersensitive child.
A child who knows that you are right there watching and ready to prevent anything bad from happening comes to rely on you to solve problems. They won't learn how to handle problems on their own. Whether this happens with siblings, friends or new kids at the playground it’s important to help your child learn how to act in each situation on their own.
If you think you’ve contributed to your child being oversensitive, don’t give up. There are things you can change and do with your child that can help them learn to take control of their feelings and actions. You can guide them to a new way of dealing with situations and events so that they can enjoy a sporting event, play a game with friends, or simply enjoy a happier childhood.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.