Topic: The Difficult Child | Register To Learn More
A difficult child or highly sensitive child is one of the 15 to 20% of children born with a nervous system that is highly aware and quick to react to everything. This makes them quick to grasp subtle changes, prefer to reflect deeply before acting, and generally behave conscientiously. They are also easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation, sudden changes, and the emotional distress of others.
Because children are a blend of a number of temperament traits, some are fairly difficult–active, emotionally intense, demanding, and persistent–while others are calm, turned inward, and almost too easy to raise except when they are expected to join a group of children they do not know. But outspoken and fussy or reserved and obedient, all are sensitive to their emotional and physical environment.
Most parents experience frustration from time to time when it comes to managing their child’s behavior, but fewer know the heartache of dealing with this type of extreme outburst. For many parents, the first response is to lash out at the child, raise our voices and deliver swift punishment. This may stop the immediate behavior, but it probably won’t address any underlying issues that may have caused the behavior in the first place. Extreme behavior can be a sign that the child has a mental health need.
The difficult child needs more time to adapt to changes (e.g. meeting new people or facing new situations) and seems less “flexible” to changes. Their behaviors in respond to changes may include crying or throwing tantrums. The difficult child also has a less pleasant mood and more likely to be distracted. If a difficult child is forced to adapt to a new change, sometimes the child may show oppositional or aggressive behaviors.
Understanding and managing your own inner reactions will help you figure out what to do.