The urge to protect a child, to hold them close and fend off any and all potential threats, is one of the most primal urges in parenting. It’s part of what makes us parents. We brought them into this world, one way or another, and we aim to keep them safe and loved.
I’ve felt that urge since the moment I held each of my children in my arms. Overwhelmed with emotion, exhausted, and tears streaming down my cheeks, I promised each of them that I would never let the world become too big for them. I would be with them every step of the way.
And although I thought that my daughter would inherently be the more sensitive one, she is like me in so very many ways, my son turned out to be just as sensitive, and then some.
Know your child
Quiet and introverted by nature, he’s not the rough and tumble jump into the center of the party kind of kid. At four, he is curious and talkative, but only when he’s in his comfort zone.
He believes that rules are meant to be followed but, like any other kid his age, he tests the limits at times. And he knows when he’s pushed it just a little too far. Tears well up in his enormous blue eyes before I can even utter a sound. Hugs and reminders are all he needs to make a better choice.
My sensitive boy takes the slow lane more often than not. When he’s ready, he’s ready. But rushing him along leads to tears, meltdowns, and sleep terrors in the dark of night.
And so we take it slow. We waited on preschool, making sure that he was ready to separate and learn. We didn’t push the toddler or preschool classes, letting him choose his own interests.
Let there be tears
If I’m being honest, I always thought it was it a myth that parents actually utter the phrase, “Boys don’t cry.” Until I heard it at the park. And in the grocery store. And during a preschool drop off one morning.
Boys cry, too.
Sometimes it’s hard to be little. Sometimes it frustrating when things don’t go your way. Some days are tiring and some days are long. And sometimes you just have to shed a few tears.
All feelings are welcome in this little family of ours. Even huge, gushing tears in the face of a tower that just keeps falling. Because sometimes a good cry is just what the doctor ordered.
How do you help your sensitive child cope with big feelings?