I was walking my three-year-old granddaughter, Maggie, out of her pre-school one afternoon when she spotted her mom’s car in the parking lot. Maggie let go of my hand and bolted for the car.
“Maggie, stop!” I yelled
But she didn’t hear me or pretended not to, so I yelled again.
She stopped and when I caught up with her, she was sobbing.
Maggie is a sensitive child. And I don’t mean this in the sense that all children are relatively sensitive. I mean that Maggie falls under a unique category of sensitive child.
Truly sensitive children are usually quieter and tend to hang back, rather than throwing themselves into the action. Sensitive children are unlike the strong-willed type of child I often talk about in that they respond when their parents say no, but they easily get their feelings hurt when their parents do so.
Perhaps you have a sensitive child or you know one. Maybe you were one. You know that sensitive children can be difficult to discipline because while they need it, they also strongly react to it, as Maggie did in the parking lot.
Because of this, sensitive children need to be disciplined in a different way.
Watch your tone and volume.
Maggie was sobbing because my yelling hurt her feelings. It didn’t matter that I was yelling for her own safety and ultimately out of my love for her. She just heard yelling. Granted, if your child is running across a parking lot, I don’t recommend quietly telling her to stop, but in other situations, yelling should not be used with sensitive children. It’s overwhelming for them in a way that it is not overwhelming for a strong-willed child.
Watch your tone and your volume whenever you discipline your sensitive child.