My 6-year-old daughter, Stella, seemed to have developed into a first-class wimp. She shrieked when I tried to brush the knots out of her hair, had a meltdown whenever I told her no, and burst into tears when her little sister teased her. I used to think Stella was a drama queen. But then I talked to an expert and learned that she wasn't acting.
Stella has what many experts call emotional sensitivity. "It's a common personality trait that causes some kids to feel physical and emotional pain more deeply than others do," explains Jeremy Schneider, a family therapist in New York City. Children are born emotionally sensitive, but their behavior may not seem out of the ordinary until age 5 or 6 when their peers cut back on tantrums and meltdowns. Although kids won't outgrow these feelings, they can learn to control their reactions -- in essence, toughen up. That's what happened with Stella. Follow these steps to help your child manage her emotions.