How To Discipline Sensitive Children? 5 Science-Backed Strategies

discipline sensitive child

5. Check how you react

Reacting aggressively or negatively is normal and natural when you are frustrated. But when dealing with a sensitive kid, you need to be aware of your tone. Your behavior should not reflect your child’s behavior, whether they are being dramatic or upset. You need to realize that your words can seriously affect your child, both emotionally and psychologically. Studies show that harsh parenting, especially from mothers, can adversely affect emotion regulation in children and lead to negative emotions & child aggression. Research also shows that parenting stress and parental reactions are both “affected by and affects parent and child behavior.” Hence, it is important that you learn to manage your emotions, practice relaxation techniques and practice self-love & self-care, so that you can respond to your child in a kind, gentle and positive way.

Related: 12 Powerful Parenting Phrases To Discipline Your Kid

How To Discipline Sensitive Children? 5 Science-Backed Strategies
How To Discipline Sensitive Children? 5 Science-Backed Strategies

Apart from these, there are some other helpful tips and strategies for raising a highly sensitive child that you may apply, such as –

  • Exhibit and show the behavior you expect from them through your actions
  • Treat your child with respect and request them to follow the rules, instead of demanding it
  • Be kind, compassionate and empathetic
  • Focus on building their self-confidence and self-esteem, not damaging them
  • Provide them some choices or alternatives, if possible
  • Strengthen your connection with your child before and after discipline
  • Prioritize boundaries and rules
  • Be physically comforting and give them gentle pats, cuddles and hugs
  • Respect your child’s emotions by understanding their sensitive nature
  • Allow them some down time
  • If your child is sad or angry, help them calm down
  • Spend quality time and engage in fun activities together
  • Praise them at every opportunity
  • Realize that being sensitive is not a drawback, but a gift
  • Be deliberate and mindful in your parenting approach

Things To Avoid

Here some things that you need to avoid when raising and disciplining a highly sensitive child –

  • Avoid shaming or blaming them
  • Avoid being rude or yelling at them
  • Avoid constant criticism or insults
  • Avoid physical punishment
  • Avoid forcing them to do things
  • Avoid isolating or neglecting them
  • Avoid withdrawing love, care and warmth
  • Avoid teasing them
  • Avoid being permissive 

Related: Permissive Parenting Style: Why It’s Bad For You and Your Child?

However, you should under no circumstances avoid discipling them out of concern or fear of hurting their emotional and mental wellbeing. A 2004 study states “Discipline is about changing behaviour, not about punishing children. Discipline allows children to develop self-discipline, and helps them become emotionally and socially mature adults.” Instead of being punitive, take a more positive and kinder approach that will help them learn lessons while building the bond you share with them.

Discipline Is About Guidance, Not Punishment

When you’re dealing with a highly sensitive child, your parenting knowledge, attitudes, and practices can directly impact your child’s development & your interactions with them. When you discipline your child effectively, they learn to internalize rules, develop desired behavior patterns and become more organized. It also helps to build trust and respect between you and your sensitive child. When you are cautious about their sensitive nature and apply the strategies mentioned above, you can empower them to successfully fit into their environment and become emotionally mature adults.

Related: Conscious Parenting: The Art Of Raising Happy Children

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How To Discipline Sensitive Children? 5 Science-Backed Strategies
discipline sensitive child pin
How To Discipline Sensitive Children? 5 Science-Backed Strategies
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Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts