|Subject: is child oversensitive?
We have an extremely sensitive, caring, and
compassionate two year old. (And so many other descriptors exist for
those two's!) If I put her down for her nap and she knows I have a
headache, the first thing out of her mouth upon rising is "your
head feel better?" Whenever my husband or I return from anywhere
she'll ask " You have nice day?" or even "You have nice
errands?" So what's the problem? I am concerned that her
sensitivity will get in the way of her happiness especially in a couple
1. With other toddlers (she will start pre-school
in the fall) who don't tend to be as gentle and considerate.
2. During our upcoming potty experiences, as she
is fearful of making "mistakes" and falls apart whenever she
What can I do to achieve some level of sensitivity
moderation? I am definitely not looking to make her tough but to just
give her some coping tools. Any advice or resources you can give will be
What you are describing is actually quite normal
and typical for a child her age who has been raised with love and
As to your worries about potential difficulties
with "less considerate" children at school, they are
realistic. In fact, the potential for having poor social skills modeled
for a child is one of the many reasons that more and more families are
As John Holt wrote to a parent worried about
over-sheltering her children: "Why not? It is your right, and your
proper business, as parents, to shelter your children and protect them
from adversity, at least as much as you can. Many of the world's
children are starved or malnourished, but you would not starve your
children so that they would know what this was like. You would not let
your children play in the middle of a street full of high-speed traffic.
Your business is, as far as you can, to help them realize their human
potential, and to that end you put as much as you can of good into their
lives, and keep out as much as you can of bad."
If you are considering unschooling, an excellent
resource is John Holt's How
Children Learn. This is an exceptional book for all
parents, regardless of their educational approach. See more unschooling
titles in the Learning section of
our Recommended Books list.
Re your question about your daughter's fear of
making mistakes/potty training, some children
are more conscientious about doing things the right way the first time.
This doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong; it's their nature.
What it does mean is that you need to take this characteristic into
account when your daughter is learning to do new things, such as using a
potty. Be careful to avoid any sort of negativity when she does make a
mistake, and any impatience with her while she's learning new skills.
From reading your letter, I doubt that you are
negative or impatient, but may need to be reassured that her
"sensitivity" is part of her gentle spirit. It's not that she
needs toughening. It's that the world around her needs softening. Celebrate
the fact that your daughter is such a loving and compassion child!
Thank you for writing.