Highly sensitive children like safe, known and trusted places and people. They are often most comfortable in the company of a few and are usually homebodies. So what happens when they stay a night somewhere without their parents or guardians?
Well in all honesty I cannot answer that question from personal experience. My children wouldn’t willingly stay overnight without me or their father for all the sweets in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (yes, we are reading that book at the moment).
The mere hint of an introduction to the idea has ended in tears. Even with us sitting downstairs my youngest is a terrible sleeper and he usually ends up in tears at some point during the night. Never mind suggesting he goes to stay the night at someone else’s house or a place where his mama and papa are not.
There are those that have said we should push them, just leave them with grandparents for the night. Those are the people I don’t listen to. I know my children. I know how that would end. And I know their trust in me would ebb quickly if I tried to force them into a sleepover somewhere. I know they would be traumatised. They will know when they are ready. I will know when they feel ready.
It’s taken a long time to get to the point where my husband and I can even go out once or twice a year and leave the boys with someone else for a few hours. From an early age my eldest screamed the house down if he was left with someone else, even if it was a familiar face. Going out was more stress than enjoyment.
My youngest is still uncomfortable being left with someone else (read: screams and cries himself to sleep). So gathering them up for a night at their grandparents, for example, has never been on the cards, despite how much my boys love visiting their opa!
Going away for a night whilst someone stayed and looked after my children at our house just isn’t on the cards either.
“He adores his grandparents, but doesn’t like staying overnight with them.” Long Hat is a Hero
And we accept that. Maybe one day, when they are older, things will be different, but for now it is what it is.
In the future though there will be challenges. School camp looms for my eldest. I have seen mothers talking about this very issue in parenting groups on Facebook – their child gets so homesick and stressed going on a school camp it becomes traumatic and not the fun it is supposed to be. The second time around they don’t go. I am not looking forward to the discussions that will be had here about it.
Middle ground is hard in these situations. I don’t have a solution, other than acceptance. Maybe it helps to know that a reluctance to spend the night away from the family home without parents is common amongst HSCs – and there is nothing wrong with your child.
Over to You: What experiences have you had with your HSCs staying overnight somewhere without you? Do you have tips for other parents?