Wimpy & Whiny: Understanding Emotionally Sensitive Children

Find the Words

Sensitive children tend to burst into tears any time they experience a strong emotion, whether it's embarrassment or frustration. For instance, if you tell your son that his friend can't stay for dinner, he may suddenly become weepy. You can help by giving him the words for how he's feeling: "Honey, I know you're angry that Benjamin can't stay." Often it can stop a kid in his tracks to hear someone express his emotions, says Dr. Bashe. "Even if it doesn't work in the moment, when your child hears someone talking about his emotions again and again, he'll eventually start considering how he feels on his own instead of screaming and crying." Later, you can also talk to your child about other ways to cope with his feelings: stopping for a break, taking a few deep breaths, or even hitting a pillow.

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