Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Help a Sensitive {Read: FREAKING OUT} Child

I'm leaning some very interesting things from the book Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

One of the most enlightening things I've discovered is that I live with a "highly sensitive child" as Cain labels personality types like Molly's. She poses that there are some in the world who are more affected by outside influences than others, causing them to react a little differently to situations because they feel things more deeply than most.

I knew my youngest reacted differently than the other children after being out in a group for an extended amount of time (she needs a nap afterward) and I've often watched her slip away from a group of kids to spend time on her own, but I didn't quite understand the extent of the "sensitive" part.

As we were in the midst of the cleaning up process in the kitchen I saw proof after proof of Molly's "high sensitivity." The day the crew came to remove the kitchen carpet and detach the cabinets and sink from the floor to allow it to dry off Molly broke down into tears time after time. "What's going to happen to our house? It's all broken!" We reassured her time and again that these folks were helping us and making our home better but she was still a mess. Finally we sent her to her room to sleep which is often a good reset for her. After she'd rested a bit and spent some time in her room on her own, she returned to us in much better shape.

When her Pappa arrived to reset the cabinets and sink, Molly broke down again, first thing in the morning, I was perplexed. Surely she knew Pappa would make things better.

"I just feel like our whole house is going to fall down flat!" she wailed. I was lost for a solution so I reached deep down and turned to the source from which I'm confident every Christian mother and definitely every pastor's wife draws...

"Molly," I said taking her face between my hands, "what kind of house did the three little pigs build when they wanted to be the very safest that they could be?"


"Yes, brick. What is our house made of?"


"Yes, brick. See we are safe and sound!"

{Tears began fresh once more.}

"Molly, go get your Awana book and let's look at some verses."

When she returned we looked at the verse that said, "Give thanks in all circumstances..." and I explained that what was going on in our kitchen was definitely a circumstance and that we were to be thankful.

It helped a little.

Molly turned some more pages in her book saying, "There's another good part back here..." She pointed out Psalm 23 which she'd learned the month before. We watched her calm as she read about her Shepherd and as her Daddy and Pappa continued their work putting things back together.

I was thankful for the bit of reading I'd done which helped me to understand what was going on in my kiddo's heart but I was beyond thankful for the reading she had been able to do that actually calmed that heart and gave her stability in the circumstance that had made her little world feel like it was crumbling.

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