If you are a highly sensitive person parenting a highly sensitive child (HSC) then some days you find that your role is harder than others. You are not alone. Parenting is a tough role but doing it whilst trying to keep your own bucket from overflowing makes it even harder. Here are three steps you can take to help yourself be a better parent for your HSC.
1. Understand your own sensitivities
Think about your own highly sensitive traits. Grab a piece of paper and make a list of your own bucket fillers.
Are you sensitive to noise, smells or busyness? Do crowds bother you? Does loud music grate on you? Do you feel overwhelmed when your children are arguing with each other? Do you feel the emotions of your irritated colleagues? Does an activity full day end in a flared temper or tears? Do you need regular periods of quiet? Does that thread about animal cruelty posted by a friend on Facebook really upset you?
Make a list of your traits and needs and hang it somewhere noticeable as a reminder.
Understanding your own triggers will help you better manoeuvre your way around parenting and help you to keep your own bucket from filling up quickly.
2. Accept your own sensitivities
Once you have a list of your own sensitiveness and triggers it’s time to accept those limitations.
If a day planned full of appointments leaves you overwhelmed when you need to put the kids to bed then take a look at your agenda and reschedule, postpone or cancel future appointments. Build in quiet days. Accept that you need calm days too to be able to be the parent you want to be. Don’t be afraid to say no and protect your boundaries.
If friends post upsetting threads on Facebook or Twitter put your tablet away and give yourself a social media break.
Take a look at each of your own sensitivities and look for solutions. Accept your own traits and work with their frameworks.
3. Embrace your own sensitivities
Now it’s time to go a step further. Take each of your sensitive traits and turn the negatives into positives. See the advantages of each trait. Detail why you should be proud of being the way you are.
Maybe the thumping sound of house music from a nearby house irritates you to the point of helplessness but remember that there is other music that brings you to the point of tears – you can feel the beauty and emotion in music that appeals to you.
When you see cruelty you are moved enough to take action.
When you feel that your colleague is upset by office politics you are in a position to comfort them or explain and put their mind at ease.
When you see your own highly sensitive children struggling with the busyness of their day you are fully aware of how they are feeling and what they need.
You can be the parent they need you to be in that moment.