Sensitivity In Children

It’s easy to assume that some children are more sensitive that others. That lifestyles, parenting and experiences may have a factor on their ability to cope with strength and the resourcefulness than can access in challenging situations. This is even more noticeable when working in the field of child therapy.

At NLP4Kids we frequently work with young people experiencing lifestyle changes at home and at school to reduce the negative impact of sensitivity and problems they go through in some situations.

However I have a theory. That sometimes we can react sensitively to unexpected situations because they are exactly that – unexpected.

I remember once, as a child sitting watching TV on Saturday night. I feel almost embarrassed now to admit it, but as I sat in my semi vegetative state, glued to the TV, something unexpected happened.I knew the format of the show – I’d seen it that many times already. But all of a sudden they changed things and introduced a new element in an “oh we didn’t know ourselves this was going to happen fashion.”

I don’t remember entirely what it was that they did – maybe an unexpected guest at an unexpected moment, or a sudden “we’re going to get taken off the air!” sort of scenario.

What I do remember (with hindsight) is that years before, my Nan had told me about Morcome and Wise and how Eric Morcome had dropped dead on stage. This had stuck in my mind (more than I’d realised!)

When I sat there, unawares watching Noels House Party, the sudden change in schedule must have – totally unknown to me at that time – taken me back to my Nan’s shared memory. Interestingly I hadn’t made the connection between these two events until I began writing this article!

The upshot of it was that I ended up having a sort of anxiety attack. I had to switch off the television and compose myself. I couldn’t articulate what my worry was about and I never mentioned it again.

Generally I was a resilient, composed young person both up until and following that event. But my sensitivity was sudden and unexpected. It related possibly to something from long ago which at the time I didn’t connect.

I was lucky, in that the anxiety passed and didn’t return but for some it may linger. It may keep returning until they make the connection to move on from it or let go of the trigger from the past that created it.

Something that can be useful to remember when working with young people is that they may or may not be able to trace the triggers for anxious emotions. They may or may not be able to articulate what has caused them or how they are feeling now. They may only be able to share their symptoms as a result of expressing them via their behaviour, which might not put them in the most favourable light.

Equally, they may not have had any upset of this kind and instead be “acting up” for other reasons entirely. So it cannot be assumed that every problem is related to problems from the past. The only real way to find out is some exploring with some clever questions to see what unfolds for them.

By Gemma Bailey

Gemma Bailey is the director of NLP4Kids, a children’s therapy service that provides teen therapy and child counselling using NLP, a proactive alternative to conventional child psychology. If you are looking for a child counsellor to help your child overcome stress, depression or anxiety related problems or if you wish to book a workshop to help your child improve their mental health call 0203 6677294 or email Gemma is based in Hertfordshire and works with clients in and around Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Watford, Potters Bar, Berkhamsted, North London and Hertfordshire.

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