Empathic children feel their way through the world, and they have acute mental or emotional sensibilities, and they want to be responsive to other people’s feelings. Yet, at times, their sensitivity threshold is low. They are often told, “You are too sensitive,” rather than being recognized for their gifts of emotional intelligence.
What a delight when a child is recognized for his gift of empathy! Our friend, Dr. Minette Riordan, shared that when her sensitive son Conner was five years old and entered kindergarten, she went to work in launching a local parenting newspaper, North Texas Kids. One week of every month was pressure filled with newspaper deadlines, and Conner's response was to feel his mom’s stress and become distressed also.
Connor ended up getting into trouble at school for pushing another child into a locker. The teacher was clear that he was provoked but expressed concern that Conner, a normally happy, relaxed child, should react aggressively. After a lengthy discussion about what was going on at home, Minette realized that Conner would react to her stress at work by acting out at school.
Minette learned to help Conner through these stressful times by giving him plenty of advance notice about the timing of her busy, upcoming week. She would tell Conner, "I won't be home much this week" or "You won't see me as often this week, but once we get to Saturday, I will have the whole weekend to spend with you." Moreover, Minette made herself smile, hugged her son more, and talked to him in calming tones rather than strident tones. By managing her own stress and preparing Conner, she gave him language and a way to healthfully express his distress at not seeing her enough during that week of the month.
Minette’s story demonstrates what goes on in every household with parents and children. Children feel the parents’ pain, tension stress or discord—basically the emotional energy of the home that makes everyone uptight and upset. Yes, kids are adaptable, and part of parenting is to soothe and help children learn to soothe themselves. Such interactions are even more necessary for the “sensitive kids.”
For more information on helping empathic children, please see Raising Intuitive Children.
If you are an empath struggling with managing the energy overload that tends to accompany this gift, you might want to join us for a free training event: “Empaths Shifting into 2012: A Telesummit to Help Energy-Sensitive People Understand Their Spiritual Role on Earth” September 6, 13, 20, & 27, 2011. Sign up at http://live-spirit.com/empathytelesummit.
© 2011 Dr. Goode is the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents International, a global online school for training successful, wealthy parenting coaches in home-based businesses. She is the author of fifteen books, including the international best seller, Kids Who See Ghosts, the national award-winner Raising Intuitive Children. See and review all of Dr. Goode’s books here.
PURCHASE paperback book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You at http://tinyurl.com/EmpathAmazon. The e-book version is now available for Kindle, iPhone, iPad, and other digital reading devices.