Let’s face it: The news is scary.
It’s always been scary, but it has certainly upped the ante recently.
And this week? Downright painful.
When I was in 6th grade, I remember reading about Darwin and the theory of natural selection. I was wholly fascinated by it all. I fantasized about traveling to the Galapagos one day. I wanted to swim with the sea turtles and make important discoveries.
And then the Gulf War hit.
At that age, I was terrified. The news was on almost 24/7 and it was just too much for me. I couldn’t bear the footage, the bombings, the dialogue. I’d hide in my room with a good book, but the TV was just outside my door, infiltrating my safe space.
I covered my ears, put a pillow over my head, blared my Walkman while reading.
Despite my best efforts, the news was impossible to ignore.
It gave me nightmares.
And, I couldn’t help but think: Why so much hate? Why so much hurt?
Why haven’t we evolved past this?
I was twelve years old.
When the News Is Nightmarish: Parenting Sensitive Souls
I’ve always been a sensitive soul. It has taken decades to embrace my sensitivity as the strength that it is. Highly sensitive people care deeply for others. Highly sensitive souls are empathy rockstars.
And, do you know what? Highly sensitive adults often go on to have highly sensitive children.
That means that this week, your children may be covering their ears in their bedrooms wondering why we haven’t evolved past this.
How can you help your sensitive child?
- Turn off the TV- Limiting media exposure can be healthy for all children, but especially for those who are highly sensitive. Turn the television off when your children are home. Choose commercial-free options while driving. You cannot shield your child from everything, but you can work to decrease exposure.
- Hug- Hugs are magical in these scary moments, especially when there are no words.
- Validate your child’s feelings– Emphasize that these feelings and fears are normal and explain the importance of sharing feelings.
- Emphasize that sensitivity is a strength– Let your child know that he or she should never feel ashamed of feeling so deeply. In fact, it is a gift to be able to feel the emotions of those around you and to care for others.
- Choose kindness- When things get scary, it is easy to forget that there is a lot of good in this world. As a parent, I’ve found that it helps to focus on the good. Summer is a great time to spread kindness as a family. You will all feel better for making an impact on your corner of the earth.
- Practice mindfulness- Mindfulness is a powerful tool for adults and children. By integrating mindfulness into your family routine, your children will learn important coping and life skills.
If you’d like to read more about highly sensitive people (and little people), here are some excellent choices:
- The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron
If you are a highly sensitive person like myself, you will wholeheartedly appreciate this book. Do yourself a favor and read it. It will be good for your soul.
- The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them by Elaine Aron
That proverbial apple does not fall far from its tree. If you are parenting a highly sensitive child, this book is for you.
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
If you grew up being told that you were too quiet, this is the book for you. It’s fascinating to think about introversion and extroversion as it relates to the world, careers, family, and education. Be sure to check out Susan Cain’s website, Quiet Revolution.
- Quiet Kids: Helping Your Introverted Child Succeed in an Extroverted World by Christine Fonseca
This is a wonderful book for those raising introverted children in this extroverted world.
4 thoughts on “When News Is Nightmarish: Parenting Sensitive Souls”
Thanks for this. My son is six and very sensitive. We’ve found an unexpected benefit of ditching cable to be an a sense of ads for scary movies and games as well as teasers for the nightly news. It’s helped keep him away from the scary stuff.
I’m glad ditching cable has helped, Brett! It’s just too much for these little kiddos!
Hi, yeah, just chiming in to join the HSP-w/-HSC club!
Oh, also should say that your description of hiding out from Gulf War news but hearing it anyway… that word for word could have been written by me. If only we’d had each other to talk to then!
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