I often get asked ‘How can I toughen up my Wildheart (strong-willed, sensitive) child?’
Instead, I like to ask this question:
‘How can I help my child become more emotionally resilient so I can keep their beautiful spirit alive?’
Wildhearts are 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. I’ve discovered that connection parenting is definitely the way forward for these beautiful souls.
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 a Wildheart (Strong-willed sensitive child) need?
Whether you’re parenting your own child, or re-parenting your inner child this will tell you what you 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.
2) Skills to Deal With The Depth of their Emotions
When their emotional needs are met, their behaviour changes as if by magic! This is what I teach and I have a whole toolkit to help you.
- The tools for 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. 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.
- 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 make choices about their life (age-appropriate and wherever possible).
- Quiet time and a way to connect back to themselves. Guided visualisations are brilliant for this. They also help empty your child’s emotional backpack.
- Creativity and a chance to disappear into their own little world which flexes their amazing imagination.
- They love nature and animals. Try walking bare foot on the ground. Hugging a few trees also helps them get back in their bodies. They live in their heads 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 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. They are great creative problem solvers.
- They want to be responsible for what matters to them and they have leadership qualities. Encourage this part of them by letting them be in charge of something. The classroom nature table, collecting the post, helping prepare the dinner, feeding the family pet etc.
Sensitivity is a Wildheart’s Super Power
Watch the video above and play the message to your Wildheart. They will also love listening to Truly Madly Smiley. It’s 100 chats with me about growing up as a Wildheart. 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.
I was a Wildheart, so I can help you!
I’ve been working with this unique temperament of child for nearly years. In fact, I am that child and I have lived in that head space. It’s lonely feeling naughty, misunderstood, very angry or very afraid.
I know what your Wildheart child truly needs in order to feel seen and heard just as they are. They live from the heart and need to be connected to – and comfortable with – all their feelings.
Accepted. Loved. Not difficult or tricky or wrong.
Ready to Understand Your Sensitive Spirited Wildheart Self?
Not sure? Want your own personal tour to see what it’s really like?