As a parent I have noticed kids also tend to get very sensitive at this age. What is your advise to parents on how to handle a sensitive child?
At the outset it is important to remember that sensitivity is not a bad thing. It is sensitivity which allows people to connect with others and allows for kindness, empathy and compassions to flow more easily; therefore allowing for fewer but longer lasting connections. It is the over feeling of emotions which leads to socializing challenges. This over feeling can be a result of low self esteem or unrealistic expectations of people to validate their feelings, also a bi-product of low self esteem.
- Sensitive children can be assisted by helping them define their expectations from a person or situation. Guide them towards what healthy expectations are vs. what over the top expectations may look like given the situation at hand.
- Help them identify what caused their feelings to get hurt. Grab a piece of paper and divide it into two parts. On the left have the child write down the situation which upset or bothered them. On the right have the child, along with you; explore the reality of the situation. So it would look something like this:
|What upset me
|The Truth about What Upset me
|Dad did not come to see my concert. He does not love me!
|Dad and I just went for ice cream yesterday. Dad got busy with work. Daddy works so that we can stay happily and comfortable. Dad does love me! I will tell Dad I was sad that he missed my concert, but that I understand. I love my dad too!
- Once the exercise above is completed speak with the child about what caused the initial reaction versus the truth about the situation and help them identify ways next time that they may be able to spare themselves the emotional anguish. This will, in time, help them develop a logical connect between emotion and reaction.
Today I see a lot of anger in young kids. Earlier these kind of mood swings and rebellious behaviours was seen in teenagers, now I see them in pre teens. How should parents deal with that?
Think of a two-year who hasn’t yet learned how to speak, when she wants something and is denied that something a tantrum ensues. She’s not trying to be difficult, she just doesn’t have the words to express to you why she needs that thing you are denying her and in frustration resorts to a tantrum. Well it works similarly in older kids and frankly even in adults.
We are creating a generation of children who are not learning how to effectively communicate. Excessive time on the phone, television and laptop is enabling children to hide behind surreptitious identities and allowing them access to information well before they are equipped to understand that information. The art of communication is being lost to the art of creating and maintaining an image.
Scientifically also it is important to know that excessive internet use atrophies the grey matter in a brain and this worsens as usage and age both grow. In other words we’re allowing their brains to waste away and thus leading to ‘inappropriate’ behavior.
Today’s inactive lifestyle both mentally and physically is affecting concentration, memory, the ability to make good choices and motivation.
Two groups of 18 university students were compared against each other. The first group spent about 13 hours a day online for 6 days a week. The second group spent less that two hours a day online for the same 6 days of the week. MRI brain images of the first group revealed an adverse effect on memory, emotions, speech, sight, hearing & motor controls, with minimal to no effect in the second group. The first group showed signs of brain atrophy where the second group did not.
Here’s the rule of thumb, children under 2 years of age should have ZERO screen time. After two years of age the maximum screen time should not be more than 4 hours per WEEK.
Bottom line, set an example for your kids. Put away your phones, shut down your laptops and engage with them, plan good old-fashioned outdoor play dates and let non-electronic team sports or games play a large role in their lives!
Hope that reading her interview will give you an insight in your child’s development. We have indulged her in more questions but that we will deal with another blog post. Mommies, daddies keep reading and posing questions to us, we will strive to address your concerns.