Are your children easily scared of a movie or a story from a book? Do you know the scenario? Even if there is a slight fear or tension, is the child afraid? A parenting expert, Meghan Leahy, answers these questions and offers advice on how to deal with little one’s fears.
There are many parents in the same boat. I will never forget when I took my daughter to Interwoven, a Disney film based on the story of Rapunzel. Although I didn’t express what I was thinking during the film, the first thing my six-year-old daughter asked me badly, “How many children are kidnapped? (Spoiler alert: there is a scene where a baby is abducted at the beginning of the movie.) And I thought we liked the songs and the animals in the story, but my daughter only remembered the first three minutes.
He seems to know his daughter well and as a sensitive person he also understands deeply what she is feeling. In fact, she feels things differently. When you are “extremely creative and insightful,” your senses can help you sense more of what is going on around you than other children can. While that creativity and intensity is a wonderful thing, it can be a very stressful way of life. Your daughter’s nervous system can easily become clogged with everyday experiences so adding violence and tension is too much to ask.
The good news is that it is said that your days are not fraught with fear, so you can have some breathing space and think about how to proceed. Creative and sensitive children may be prone to anxiety, but the behaviors you describe do not correspond to a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.
And how can you help her overcome this emotional sensitivity? I think we both know this is not going to happen. I often compare children’s sensitivity to roses: flowers are beautiful, but if you try to open your closed bud it will never bloom and ruin it. Sensitive children need to mature on time, and if they are forced to hurry up or get stronger, both parties – parents and children – become frustrated. This pressure will also destroy what makes them special.
This does not mean that your daughter does not build resilience on her own during elementary school. Without throwing it into the abyss, you can gently push it further to its limits without throwing it “overboard”. Yes, life can endure in rapid succession, but sensitive people can endure it. This is the case when they are allowed to develop their full potential. By helping your child tolerate uncomfortable doses, you are building resilience without breaking your heart.
Feel free to share some creepy stories with the kids, read books together that test their limits, and watch series with excitement. A fun exercise is to analyze what creates tension (music, darkness, a shadow). The better the little ones understand how the writers and directors did it, the more they can use this information for their own creativity.
Movies and books may seem too childish for their age, but that’s okay. Again we enter the pool together and do not throw it into the abyss of terror. And don’t forget that there are many ways to build resilience, whether physical or emotional. Try not to focus solely on movies and books as this is the only way your daughter can grow.
One of the biggest challenges is being a sensitive parent to a sensitive child. You might be tempted to compare your childhood to theirs and worry about how much she suffered or left out. You can try to disturb it or change it and identify yourself with it too much.
Check out more first than any other change you might want to make for or for your children. Mother and daughter may share a sensitive nature, but she is a separate person who will suffer and survive – if the parents are there to compassionately set boundaries.
I love Elaine N. Aron’s books. Start with the highly sensitive parent. Of course, if you want to continue to understand these issues, you will develop a better understanding of your daughter’s needs. The book The Orchid and the Dandelion (without translation in Portuguese, The Orchid and the Dandelion) by W. Thomas Boyce is also an excellent suggestion.