Children are all have different attributes that make them unique and special. Yet, there are some children that are “highly sensitive people,” according to psychologist Elaine Aron in a recent CNBC article. According to the experts, roughly one out of five children can be classified as highly sensitive. Is your child one? Here are 12 signs that may point to your child having a “highly sensitive” brain, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are advantages!



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Here are the most common signs to look out for:

  1. They notice subtle details, such as a teacher’s new outfit or when furniture has been moved.
  2. Other people’s moods really affects them. They easily absorb emotions from others, taking on their feelings as if they were their own.
  3. They have a hard time shaking intense emotions like anger or worry.
  4. They complain when things feel off (e.g., scratchy bedsheets, itchy clothing labels, tight waistbands).
  5. They feel stressed and fatigued in loud, busy environments, like gyms or perfume counters because of the strong odors.
  6. They hate feeling rushed and prefer to do things more carefully.
  7. They respond better to gentle correction rather than to harsh discipline.
  8. They make insightful comments and seem wise for their age.
  9. They have a clever sense of humor.
  10. They read people well and can infer, with surprising accuracy, what they are thinking or feeling.
  11. They refuse to eat certain foods because of the smells or textures.
  12. They startle easily at sudden noises, like when someone sneaks up on them.

How many of these have you checked off of the list? Remember, this is not a bad thing, it’s a good one and open to a plethora of advantages. Highly sensitive kids have an entirely different approach to their environment and the world. That is their superpower and there are things that parents can do to help them reach their full potential! Here are five suggestions that the experts have come up with to help.

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1. Get curious about their world.

If your daughter/son likes to camp, and you don’t, guess what, a mother/daughter or father/daughter camping trip may just be the perfect moment to get them alone for some one-on-one time and find out exactly who they are. To get the ball rolling, try starting with open-ended questions such as:

  • “What was hard for you today?”
  • “What motivates you?
  • “What accomplishments are you proud of?
  • “What do you see as your strengths/weaknesses?
  • What’s your favorite memory about…?

And if you are really bold and want to know what they thing of you, ask them, “How would you grade me as a parent?”

2. Set expectations about everything for them well ahead of time.

Sensitive kids need time to think and process. By setting your expectations ahead of time, it gives them the opportunity to do this. Let them know what and how you expect them to do something. And on the flip side of that, let them know the consequences, if any, if they don’t meet expectations.

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3. Discipline gently.

Sensitive children do not respond to harsh discipline. They get their feelings hurt easily and your correction could go unheeded. Talk to them calmly and after disciplining them, follow up with positivity.

4. Be their emotional coach.

Sensitive children need guidance wit their emotions. As a parent, it is your job to help coach them through their feelings and understand what these emotions mean. Remember, they are watching how you handle your emotions and they will model the behaviors that they see.

5. Be their best advocate.

Talk to your child’s teachers, coaches, etc. well ahead of time and let them know about your child’s sensitivity. You want to head off potential problems that could arise due to misinterpretations/perceptions. Make sure that they know that you are in their corner and fighting for them every step of the way!

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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