Monday, February 27, 2012

Emotional Sensitivity

High levels of emotional sensitivity are associated with giftedness. High levels of emotional sensitivity can be a strong asset, in that these children can be more sensitive to the environment surrounding them, sensing beauty, joy, and feelings more than others. It can also be an problem when that sensitivity sees suffering, injustice, and world issues with more intensity than their peers. They may be overwhelmed by the sufferings they perceive. Parents need to discuss what are the possible ways that the child can reach out and help; what is beyond an individual's control; and how to process their feelings.
Sensitivity can also appear as a drive for excitement, fast-paced change, and active pursuits. Children may come to believe that living on the edge is preferable to reflective, contemplative states. Both states are necessary for growth, and students need to learn how to find a balance between active pursuits and states of reflection. Without reflection, students may just be hurrying from one activity to another, and may not be learning and growing.
Here are some suggestions (Loveky, 2004) on ways to develop these strengths and mitigate the accompanying issues:
  • Do things as a family to help those in need.
  • Visit local charities.
  • Discuss how things may be beyond your control and how a partial solution is better than none.
  • Promote the child's desire to help by structuring and planning the process for helping.
  • Help them control their impulsivity and look at the consequences of their helping actions.
  • Discuss selfishness and when thinking of oneself first is best and when it is not.
  • Plan small tasks that can lead to the larger whole of helping.

Children with great emotional sensitivity can be difficult to raise, but if we take the time to direct and channel those feelings into positive actions, they will grow to be kind, caring adults who make our world a better place.

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