Raising a Deeply Feeling Child

A Parent’s Guide to Supporting and
Understanding your Highly Emotional Child

A highly sensitive child is just that: a child who feels emotions deeply. Just as immense as their joy can be, equal intensity is displayed in their anger and sadness. And as a child, these intense emotions can be difficult to navigate, oftentimes feeling too heavy to carry. When fostered, however, you can teach your child to befriend their emotions and utilize their gifts of deep empathy, passion and awareness. 

As a parent, you want the best for your child. While it may seem easier to try and shut down intense emotions, it’s important to recognize the beauty that exists within such deep feelers. So how can you protect your child while also encouraging this superpower they’ve been given? Below are some tips:

Embrace their Emotions

One of the most important steps in raising a deeply feeling child is to create a safe and accepting environment where they feel comfortable expressing their emotions. Validate their feelings, whether positive or negative, and let them know that it’s okay to feel the way they do. Avoid dismissing their emotions with phrases like, “You’re too sensitive” or “Stop overreacting.” Instead, encourage them to share their feelings openly.

Teach Emotional Literacy

Help your child build a rich emotional vocabulary so they can better understand and articulate their feelings. Use picture books, movies, or real-life situations to discuss various emotions and their nuances. By teaching them to label their emotions accurately, you empower them to manage and communicate their feelings effectively.

Provide Tools for Self-Regulation

With heightened emotions comes a need for effective self-regulation. Often when your child feels big emotions, they can lose control over when and how they’re released. And in these moments, their body suddenly becomes unsafe. If outbursts are common, it’s important to teach your child how to find safety in the midst of these moments. Teach them techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or counting to ten when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Encourage a Creative Outlet

Art, music, writing, and other creative activities can serve as powerful outlets for a deeply feeling child’s emotions. When our minds and bodies are feeling out of control, a creative outlet does an incredible job of harnessing that energy into something innately therapeutic. Encourage them to express themselves through their chosen medium, in times of calm and times of emotional distress. This not only provides a healthy way to process emotions but also nurtures their creativity.

Respect their Boundaries

When we’re in a deeply emotional state, we can be inconsolable. So while it’s essential to encourage emotional expression, it’s equally important to respect your child’s boundaries and what they need to do for themselves. Some deeply feeling children may need more alone time to recharge or process their feelings. They may be exhausted and need a break to calm down. Pay attention to their cues and allow space when needed.

If you notice that your child is struggling significantly with their emotions or their emotional sensitivity is causing distress, consider seeking guidance from a professional. The team at Decade2Connect is trained to support children through emotional distress and is available to provide extra support when you feel you’ve run out of options. 

While big emotions can be scary, it’s important to remind your child of the beauty that exists in being a deep feeler. These children have an incredible perspective on the world and potential for great empathy. Embrace their uniqueness and celebrate the beautiful depth of emotions they bring to the world.

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!