Do you find yourself in regular power struggles? Your child is very determined and yet at the same time very sensitive. It’s an awesome combination which doesn’t respond well to mainstream or old school parenting. In my work, I’ve discovered that connection parenting is definitely the way forward for these beautiful souls.
It’s likely if you have found your way to this website, you are the Mum of a strong-willed sensitive child or Wild Heart as I like to call them. (If you are not sure check out this post which goes into more detail). If you are then you have a really important job to do.
Your child is here to do a very specific job and this is why I want to explain to you what your child needs without compromising who they are and without you feeling so exhausted. I want to make sure their unique gifts are honoured and harnessed so they can be who they came here to be. (Anyway, if you try and mould them into somebody else, they will most certainly let you know about it!)
What does your strong-willed sensitive child need?
1) Empathetic Boundaries
Meet them where they are. Show them you understand. Resist the urge to get into the story and make them wrong. Let them save face and so it is a win-win for everybody. Find a way to show them you can see how they feel and that you want to help them with that. They are motivated by their feelings. You can still hold your boundaries and allow them their feelings. This is what I was helping Mums with in last week’s Master Class.
2) Skills to Deal With The Depth of their Emotions
You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile is my amazing family pack in the Online Learning Den which has 10 easy and fun Smiley lessons to give your Wild Heart the tools to understand themselves.They need:
- To do daily emotional housekeeping so that they can learn how to process their emotions before they have a meltdown.
- To zip up and protect themselves against meanies or people who tease them / misunderstand their sensitivity.
- To ground their energy so they can feel comfortable and safe in their little bodies.
- To understand what their feelings are trying to tell them (this is how they navigate through life).
Sometimes people don’t understand the depth of their feelings and any parent who is not comfortable with their own vulnerability, anger, sadness or anxiety is going to find it hard to parent this child. Your child will break you open and help you reconnect with the emotional part of you.
- Encouragement, kindness and acceptance for the way they are. They are sensitive to criticism and this is why Smiley’s Little Box of Kindness comes with a kindness plan so you and your child can agree what they need in the moment.
- If you are a perfectionist you will have high standards and you will fault find a lot (you may not be aware of this but if you do it to yourself, they will watch and learn from you). This will render your child at fault a lot of the time and they will feel this deeply. It will affect how they see themselves and they will make it their mission to please you. Let’s not raise another generation of People Pleasers.
- Resist the urge to compare them to other children or their siblings. Every child is different and parenting style needs to match the child’s temperament. If you are new to Connection Parenting I have put together an ebook for you (it’s actually a 30 day mini training to help you tune into your child on an emotional level and create an environment for them to flourish).
- Love for who they are (without trying to change them to fit in – they don’t want to fit in but they need to belong). If you know your child’s love language, that really does help.
4) The Right Environment
- They don’t like being over scheduled and they value the freedom to sometimes be allowed to make choices about their life (age-appropriate).
- Quiet time and a way to connect back to themselves (guided visualisations are brilliant for this).
- Creativity and a chance to disappear into their own little world which flexes their amazing imagination.
- They love nature and animals and walking bare foot on the ground or hugging a few trees helps them get back in their bodies (and out of their heads where they live most of the time).
- They need time to make transitions from one thing to another and feel as if they have a say in what happens.
- They don’t like noisy over-crowded spaces and can get easily people-ed out.
- They abhor rules and often go against authority but you can create structure in their lives with routine and tapping into family values (e.g in this house we are kind or in this house we do this…..). Make sure these are written up somewhere as a reminder for everybody.
- They need freedom to make choices and respond better to that than being told what to do. If you take the authoritarian approach with them, you will be met with a power struggle.
- They have strong intuition and in many situations are able to work it out for themselves – give them the time and space to do that (see point 4). They are great creative problem solvers.
- They want to be responsible for what matters to them and they have leadership qualities, so try and encourage this part of them by letting them be in charge of something.
Sensitivity is A Wild Heart’s Super Power
Watch the video above and play the message to your Wild Heart (strong-willed sensitive child). I want them to know that they are not alone and that their sensitivity is a really important part of them which will guide them through life. I want these children to learn how to use their sensitivity to help them feel their way through life instead of being blown about by every breeze. In my new Calm Down class I’ll be empowering children to understand, be with, and process the energy of their feelings.
I can help + I really want to
I have been working with this unique temperament of child for over 8 years. In fact, I am that child and I have lived in that head space feeling naught, misunderstood, alone and at times, either very angry or very afraid. I know what your Wild Heart child truly needs in order to feel seen and heard just as they are. Accepted. Loved. Not difficult or tricky or wrong. I have put together an epic online pack so you can give your Wild Heart what they need and you can watch them grow up to be all that they are meant to be.
Wow thank you Lisa what a powerful 2 hours…much better than sitting on the sofa scrolling through FB or watching telly! I just loved being in that place where other mums were being honest and we were making each other feel better as we know we are not alone with this stuff and that it is okay to make mistakes as a parent “I’m only human after all”!
This morning my daughter was desperate to play with her dolls before school but as always time was against us(!) so I did lots of empathy (I thought about how frustrating it is when I run out of time doing things before school pick up and something doesn’t get done. It’s really annoying!) and just being with her and saying “urgh this is annoying” and “it’s rubbish that you can’t keep playing with the dolls” made it okay with her. I kept to my boundary, we left on time for school and we left happy. Last night made me realise every day won’t be like this and that is just life but if I can make it happen more just by being more understanding but strong with what needs to happen then that is great. Thank you!
I just loved taking time out to reflect on things. I need to let my child find their way and stop controlling certain situations. I thought I was protecting her but I am actually stopping her from growing and working out what feels right or not okay. You’re right, what is she going to do when I am not there!? She needs to practise herself so she can handle things herself. I can support her but I can’t keep fixing and rescuing her, it is exhausting for me and really unhelpful for her growing up.
It was a massive eye opener for me that when I get triggered by something my children do, it actually has very little to do with them. It wasn’t until you asked us to think about something and you asked certain questions that I realised this was the case. I feel that will make a massive difference ‘in the moment’ in future. Looking forward to trying out the scripts, thank you!Boundaries in Action Master Class Mums