My ‘aha’ moment, my light bulb moment, came when my eldest son was around the age of three. His preschool teacher noticed how he watched from the sidelines in school and it took months of preschool before he would join in, and even then it was hesitantly. She witnessed the reluctant goodbyes at drop off which invariably ended in screaming, tears and kicking as I left the room. She saw how he refused to jump from the bench when they were in the gym. She noticed how he preferred to play alone in a quiet corner, away from noise and activity. She remarked how he cried when others cried – how he seemed to take on other children’s emotions.
“Have you considered that he may be highly sensitive?” she asked one day when we went to pick him up.
No, I’d never even heard of the term highly sensitive, let alone considered my son to be highly sensitive. The first thing I did when I got home was hit the Internet. I found Elaine Aron. I ordered The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them and read it cover to cover as soon as it arrived.
Not only did I recognise my son in those pages but I recognised myself too. My childhood. My emotions. The vision I had of myself. I had found a puzzle piece that had long been lost.
So I ordered The Highly Sensitive Person and read that from cover to cover too. The lightbulb just kept glowing brighter and brighter.
When you have that ‘aha’ moment as the parent of a highly sensitive child, family life just suddenly makes more sense. Knowing that your child is highly sensitive doesn’t solve everything, but it certainly helps. You suddenly know why things are the way they are, why your child reacts the way he does. And when you understand the why you can move on to the how. And that’s when things start getting easier.
I have recently had readers getting in touch to tell me that things they have read on Happy Sensitive Kids have triggered their light bulb moment, that things suddenly make sense. I cannot describe how delighted that makes me – because that moment when you realise your child is highly sensitive is important. It’s the catalyst for change. It triggers understanding and support – and most of our sensitive kids need those things more than anything else. Support and understanding. Oh, and a huge dollop of acceptance. That’s the magic recipe: support, understanding and acceptance.
How did you come to understand that your child is highly sensitive? Share your lightbulb moment!